Showing signs that it will not surrender to arm-twisting tactics of the Congress on pre-poll alliance, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said that it would not seek any alms from the Congress.
State NCP chief R.R. Patil told media on Thursday: “We are not magatkari or those who seek alms from the Congress.” He was replying to a question if NCP would concede more Assembly seats to the Congress if they forged alliance for the ensuing elections.
Earlier in the day, state Congress President Manikrao Thakare said his party would want 173 seats — nine more from the 2004 allotment — and the NCP should get 115.
Thakare justified the demand saying that political equations have changed after delimitation and the Lok Sabha polls in which the Congress posted much better results than its alliance partner.
Patil dismissed Thakare’s argument. “(Political) equations change in every elections. In 2004, we finished fourth in the Lok Sabha elections but later we emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly polls.”
This means that the NCP would want the Congress to stick to the 2004 formula of 124 (NCP) and 164 (Congress) seat-sharing formula.
However, both leaders were univocal in saying that the alliance between the two parties was necessary to avoid division of secular votes. They said their respective high command would take a final decision.
A Congress leader told HT requesting anonymity that the alliance would be finalised by September 18 — the first day of filing nominations. “Our high commands will sort out all issues and we expect them reach an agreement which the state leadership will accept willingly or unwillingly.”
In the meantime, the Congress and NCP continued interviewing candidates for all 288 seats. The Congress received over 3,200 applications while NCP got over 3,000.