Will the country witness Lok Sabha elections by this year-end instead of in 2014?
In the state's political circles, especially in the ruling alliance, speculation is rife that polls may be preponed with both the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) getting ready for electoral battles.
The NCP's chief and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar will hold a two day review of the party's 22 Lok Sabha seats on Friday and Saturday. HT had reported this in its April 25 edition.
The NCP, which has been unable to improve its MP tally in the last two elections, is keen on bettering its score. Pawar will meet his ministers, MPs and other senior party functionaries to discuss the polls and assess the party's 22 seats.
Sources in the state Congress said that the prevailing sentiment within the party was to go for early polls instead of being pulled on all sides by coalition allies.
“A sentiment within a group in the party is that coalition cannot be pulled on till 2014 so why not call the shots instead of being forced to do so,'' said a senior Congress leader.
A senior NCP minister agreed but pointed out that a lot was riding on the upcoming Karnataka polls. "If the Congress wins Karnataka then it would want to ride on that good sentiment and call for polls. At the moment neither the Left nor the BJP are keen on early elections," he added.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik however ruled out an early election citing BJP's lack of interest but added a caveat, "While the UPA has the numbers to run the government, one cannot say for sure when fortunes may change. So even though polls are a good 10 months away, we don't want to leave anything to chance," Malik said.