The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) – old estranged allies -- on Wednesday said they were positive towards contesting the civic polls together, creating the possibility of starting alliance talks.
The alliance, however, seems far from reality. According to sources, the Congress has allowed local units to decide on the alliance and the final call will be taken by the parliamentary board once local units submit a report to the state leadership. The parties may come together in areas where they desperately need each other and are not in a position to win on their own. The two parties have shown willingness to come together after the BJP and Sena decided to hold talks for alliance.
The Congress-NCP hold strong position in rural areas and dominate a few municipal corporations such as Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur and Amravati. While they will strive to retain their position, the ruling side will look at making inroads in the Opposition’s bastion. In Mumbai, both the parties have announced their decision to go solo, after the city Congress said no to teaming up with the NCP. “We are seeking feedback from our local units. We are prepared to handle both the possibilities in all districts,” state Congress chief Ashok Chavan told HT.
State NCP chief Sunil Tatkare said they were always open to an alliance with the Congress. In 2012, the Congress and NCP contested the BMC elections together and won 65 (Congress-52 and NCP-13) of the total 227 seats.
In 2007 too, both the parties contested the BMC elections separately and won 89 seats (Congress-75 and NCP-14), 24 seats more than 2012.
A section of Congress leaders feel joining hands with the NCP may prove to be a liability. The leaders pointed out that in the recent municipal council elections, NCP lost its 35% incumbent seats, while the loss to Congress was just 15.