A day after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said it would fight the forthcoming civic polls alone, its alliance partner Congress said it too was ready to follow suit. State Congress president Manikrao Thakre said the decision would rest with the local party functionaries.
“Since these are civic polls, the party would abide by the decision by the local functionaries. We would respect local sentiments and not force our decisions on them,” said Thakre. He said going solo would help strengthen the party in the state.
In the last few months, there has been a constant demand from the NCP leaders to fight the civic elections on its own strength. In the party convention at Pune, state NCP president Madhukar Pichad in the presence of his party chief Sharad Pawar stressed on the need to go solo.
Early next year, 10 civic corporations, including Mumbai, Thane and Pune, along with 100 municipal councils, will go to polls.
In the last civic polls in 2007, the decision of the ruling parties to go alone had benefited the opponents Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance who could bag these corporations. However, political commentators say the scene is different this time.
“In the past, both Congress and NCP suffered when they went alone but this time the entry of MNS has complicated the situation,” said Prakash Bal, veteran commentator.
He said that the alliance would be finalised by the party leaders. “Sharad Pawar and the Congress high command will take the final call,” Bal added.