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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Congress, NCP dismiss Shinde’s merger remark

mumbai Updated: Oct 10, 2019 00:15 IST

A day after former chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde speculated about the merger of Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the future, senior leaders from both the parties dismissed the view.

Shinde, while inaugurating the campaign office of NCP candidate Manohar Sapate in Solapur on Tuesday, said both the parties, which have grown up in the same mother’s lap are tired now and the day was not far when they will be merged. “Although leaders from both the parties have not been saying it openly, they want to come together again. The fact that we are fighting the Assembly polls together is an indication of the merger in the near future. It is the need of the hour,” he said.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar rubbished the speculation, saying he knows his party better. “Shinde must have spoken about his party, but it is not true [that both the parties are tired] in case of our party. I am the national president of the NCP and nobody knows the status of my party better than me. The Congress and NCP are working together in an alliance in the state,” Pawar said, in Jalgaon on Wednesday.

Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat said: “The ideology and principles of both the parties are the same and so we are working together in an alliance. However, the merger has never been on the agenda. Since its inception in 1999, we have been working with the NCP. Nobody can predict the future, but currently there is no such deliberation in both the parties. It is meaningless to speak on the topic.”

Jayant Patil, state NCP president, too, dismissed the possibility. “I don’t agree with what Shinde has said as ours is the youngest party and we have fielded young faces after the exodus from the party. 78-year-old Pawarsaab is the ‘youngest’ leader, who is leading from the front and campaigning across the state. How can one call our party tired? The statement was out of context,” he said.

NCP’s legislative party leader Ajit Pawar said it was Shinde’s personal opinion. “I don’t want to confuse the workers of both the parties by making any statement on Shinde. Both the parties work separately, but come together to fight against the BJP,” he said.

This is not the first time that talks of merger have surfaced. After the Lok Sabha elections results in May this year, speculations were rife over the merger of the parties, after Pawar and then Congress president Rahul Gandhi met in Delhi.

First Published: Oct 10, 2019 00:15 IST

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