It looks unlikely that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will give up on its demand for 65 seats in the upcoming civic polls, after party chief Sharad Pawar gave a signal on Sunday that the party could go solo.
Pawar, in a meeting of party leaders at the YB Chavan Centre in Nariman Point, said that the Congress always drags negotiations to the last minute and then calls off plans for an alliance, spoiling the NCP’s chances.
“When the decision is dragged on till the end, voters are also kept in the dark, and the party’s chances of winning become more uncertain,” he said.
He told his party cadre that if the Congress did not get back with a decision by Monday evening, they should start preparations to go solo and to contest all 227 seats in Mumbai.
“We can give them a day or two. But they should not make us wait till the end,” said Pawar.
The leader defended his party’s demand for 65 seats, though he chose not to mention the number, by saying that the Congress seemed unwilling to concede or increase the number of seats apportioned to NCP despite the fact that it has got an MP elected in the city.
In the 2007 civic polls, the talks between the allies were called off at the last minute over the issue of one seat.
Sources in the NCP said: “The mood in the party now is that unless the Congress concedes to our demand, we can go solo. If it is willing to give us 50 seats, we may not accept.”
The NCP leaders said the party is in a position to win 20 to 25 seats, whether the party contests 227 seats or is offered 50 seats.
Unless the Congress is willing to bend, the NCP may not be game.
However, senior NCP leaders such as Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and rural development minister Jayant Patil have so far been keen on the alliance and may get the party to swing in favour of an alliance.