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Gujarat Congress wants high command to snap all ties with Sharad Pawar's NCP

Amid bad blood, the Gujarat unit of the Congress is keen to end the alliance with the NCP for the assembly elections. But it runs the risk of dividing the anti-BJP votes.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2017 09:54 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bharat Solanki, chief of the Gujarat unit of the Congress ants no truck with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for the assembly elections in the state later this year.(HT PHOTO)

The Congress in Gujarat has urged the central leadership to snap all ties with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) after its “betrayal” in the recent Rajya Sabha elections.

The state unit is upset with the NCP after its two legislators did not vote for senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel despite assurances from party chief Sharad Pawar. Eventually, it was Janata Dal (United) legislator Chhotu Vasava’s vote that helped Patel to win his fifth term in the Upper House of Parliament.

The Gujarat Congress has also not invited the NCP for the September 1 rally of “like-minded” opposition parties at Pardi in Valsad district, calling it a B-team of the BJP. But the state leadership still left the door ajar, requesting the Congress high command to take a final call on the invitation to the NCP.

Pawar’s party had earlier skipped a meeting of opposition parties called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on August 11 to chalk out the future course of action.

Senior NCP leader Praful Patel had later blamed the Congress for his party’s no show at the meeting. Patel insisted that the NCP voted for Patel in the Rajya Sabha polls but the Gujarat Congress leaders were spreading lies that it did not.

Read more: Rahul Gandhi to launch Gujarat campaign on Sept 4 with workers’ meet

However, Vasava later revealed that Praful Patel had called him up on August 7, a day ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections, and suggested that he vote for the BJP.

Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki took to Twitter, saying there will be no tie-up with the NCP for the upcoming assembly elections, scheduled for November-December this year.

The two parties had fought the 2012 assembly elections in alliance with the NCP winning two seats in the 182-member House.

However, the state NCP leadership had later accused the Congress of “violating the coalition dharma” by fielding proxy candidates on the seats allocated to Pawar’s party.

The NCP has now threatened to contest 50 seats in the upcoming polls if there is no alliance with any like-minded party, a move central Congress leaders fear could divide the anti-BJP votes.

First Published: Aug 25, 2017 09:51 IST