NCP chief Sharad Pawar says no alliance with MNS for Lok Sabha elections
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NCP chief Sharad Pawar says no alliance with MNS for Lok Sabha elections

The former Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar made the statement during a press conference in Kolhapur, to clarify his party’s stance over the ongoing speculation that NCP was likely to tie-up with MNS, ahead of the upcoming general polls.

lok sabha elections Updated: Jan 14, 2019 11:07 IST
2019 lok sabha elections,sharad pawar,MNS
NCP chief Sharad Pawar has denied any alliance talks between his party and the MNS for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. (HT File )

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday said that his party will not forge an alliance with the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

The former Union agriculture minister made the statement during a press conference in Kolhapur, to clarify his party’s stance over the ongoing speculation that NCP was likely to tie-up with MNS, ahead of the upcoming general polls.

“The NCP and MNS are not joining hands for the upcoming elections. Also, there are no talks going on between the two parties,” said Pawar in response to queries over the possible tie-up.

The NCP had proposed that MNS can be accommodated in the grand alliance in September last year. However, the idea was opposed by the Congress. NCP leaders were of the opinion that making MNS a part of the alliance would help the Congress-NCP prospects in 25 urban seats as the party would eat into the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vote bank. However, after the Congress opposed the idea, the NCP now seems to have ruled out the tie-up officially.

Pawar also said that the seat-sharing talks with the Congress for the Lok Sabha constituencies in the state would be completed in a week, as the two parties are lacking consensus only on three seats now. Last week, Pawar had held a meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi to finalise the talks on seat-sharing, along with other senior leaders from both the parties.

“Our discussions with the Congress party are on. Of the total 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state, we are waiting to reach a consensus only on three seats. Both, the Congress and the NCP, are analysing which party has better poll prospects on these three seats. The issue will be sorted out in the next eight days,” the NCP chief said about NCP’s talks with the Congress on pre-poll alliance.

The NCP chief also said that the 10% reservation to the economically weaker sections (EWS) of general category, passed by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government may fall through, as the Supreme Court has capped the reservation quota at 50%.

“The Central government has provided 10% reservation to the economically weaker sections of the general category. But the question is whether it will withstand legal scrutiny. I spoke to several legal luminaries and they were of the view that the decision on the raised quota ceiling may fall through in the court. The government is arguing that they have made constitutional amendment but the apex court has already cleared that they cannot change the basic structure of the constitution by allowing reservation over and above 50%,” Pawar pointed out.

First Published: Jan 14, 2019 11:06 IST