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Cong, NCP fight over political space in urban quandrangle

The tussle between the two ruling parties in State is a result of expansionist agenda, reports Ketaki Ghoge.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2007 00:19 IST

The tussle between the two ruling parties in State is a result of expansionist agenda of both the parties.

Analysts say the Congress wants to regain its position as the main political party while Sharad Pawar-led NCP wants to occupy more political space—at the expense of Congress and Opposition Sena-BJP.

“This is clearly a power play. Both Congress and NCP like other parties have no ideology or cause binding them. If there is a chance to expand they will. Elective merit is the only thing that counts,’’ said political analyst Nilu Damle.

It also has the context of the State’s rapid urbanization and the growing influence of the urban areas on the policies of the government.

Following the delimitation (reorganization of electoral map of the State) about 100 seats will come from urban quadrangle of Mumbai-Thane-Pune and Nashik, which will be housing 42 per cent of State’s urban population.

This area is going to call shots in State’s politics and governance in the coming years and the party which will have strong presence and representation in this area will lead the State, say analysts.

And that was why both Congress and NCP want to contest more and more seats in Mumbai. It will also give both the parties an idea what would be their prospects when the assembly elections are held.

Mumbai is also important for both the parties. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation with its Rs 7,000 crore annual budget is a powerhouse for the saffron combine. Also, BMC is the most prestigious local government body in Maharashtra.

Ironically, while the senior leadership within the parties is bickering and blaming each other for the fiasco, the party workers are celebrating the opportunity to contest more seats.

So, is time for the saffron alliance to pop the champagne? Political analysts said that while on the face of it Sena stood to gain, it might be too premature for celebrations in any camp.

Mumbai voters have always stumped many pre-election predictions in the past.
"You never know what political alignment is going at the constituency level," said Damle.

"Though the alliance is off, it will not benefit Sena-BJP. They will not get our vote share," said Rau. "And I am not ruling out post-election alliance between Congress and NCP," she added.

First Published: Jan 15, 2007 00:19 IST