In another attempt to corner their ally the Congress, some senior Nationalist Congress Party leaders have suggested that the parties should split the chief ministership over the five-year tenure if the alliance returns to power.
“We gave Congress the CM post in 2004 though we won more seats,” Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said on Tuesday. “We want the Congress to apply the Jammu and Kashmir formula for sharing the CM’s office.”
In 2002, in J&K, the Congress and People’s Democratic Party split the term into equal segments for which they appointed their own leaders as CMs.
Bhujbal’s confidence comes from exit polls that predict a win for the alliance. The opinion polls also suggest the Congress will do better. The NCP is taking an aggressive stance as it fears its partner will bully it into conceding some of the crucial departments it holds.
Bhujbal is one of the frontrunners for the top job. State NCP chief RR Patil, irrigation minister Ajit Pawar and home minister Jayant Patil are also in the running. Sources said they too favour the timeshare formula.
“He has rushed into making the demand,” said state Congress spokesperson Hussain Dalwai. “Senior NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel have clarified that the next CM will be from the Congress.”