Congress, NCP talk alliance after Pawar play

The party leaders even said that they will continue to meet inorder to maintain better coordination against the ruling BJP.

mumbai Updated: Feb 23, 2018 00:14 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,congress,NCP
Congress, NCP senior leaders met for the second time in the past month, on Thursday.(Bhushan Koyande/HT)

A day after the National Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar praised Congress and its newly elected president Rahul Gandhi, senior leaders of both the parties met to discuss seat sharing details for the ten seats of the state legislative council going for elections soon.

The party leaders even said that they will continue to meet inorder to maintain better coordination against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

This is the second meeting in the last 20 days, where senior leaders from both the parties have met. The first meeting was called to look into possibilities of pre-poll alliance for the coming state assembly elections to be held in 2019. They have already indicated to come together for the polls to avoid division of votes against the BJP regime.

“Today, we held the second round of talks to discuss elections of ten legislative council seats. A consensus has also been made, which will be sent to the party high command once it is finalised,” said Ashok Chavan, state Congress president.

State NCP chief Sunil Tatkare, said, “Preliminary discussion for the ten seats has been done. Elections for all the seats are yet to be announced. We will finalise it after deliberations with the party chief.”

Some ten seats of the legislative council are going to fall vacant between May and July this year. Of them, six are to be elected from local self-government and two each are from graduate and teachers’ constituency respectively. Currently, four seats belong to NCP alone, Congress 1, BJP 2 and each seat to Lokbharti and independent.

On Wednesday, at a function in Pune, where Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray interviewed Pawar publicly, the NCP chief said only the Congress could take on the BJP.

“The Congress has considerably weakened in the country over the years, but the fact is that it was the only national party with the ability to take on the ruling BJP,” Pawar told Thackeray.

The interview, held at Pawar’s alma mater Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce, was organised by Jagtik Marathi Academy.

Pawar also spoke well of Rahul Gandhi, for which the Congress’ Maharashtra unit thanked him. “Even Gandhi is changing. He is willing to learn. He is a learner who has evolved immensely,” the veteran leader said. “If the people support him, the Congress can be revived. A strong opposition is required to strengthen democracy,” he said.

Pawar’s praise has come at a time, when elections for the Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly are scheduled for next year. It is said that Pawar is interested in forging an alliance with Congress and thus wants to improve his relationship with Gandhi.

Prakash Bal, political analyst said the future of the alliance lies in what Pawar had said in his interview to Thackeray about Congress. “It seems both the parties are going to forge alliance for 2019 setting aside petty differences over seat sharing. This would make the contest difficult for the BJP,” Bal said.

This is not the first time Pawar has praised Gandhi. During a party conclave held at Karjat near Mumbai in November last year, Pawar had praised the then Congress vice president. “He is unlike the image created by the BJP through social media. He always tries to understand issues and is also hardworking. But, I advised him to be consistent in whatever he does,” Pawar said.

First Published: Feb 23, 2018 00:11 IST