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Gujarat Assembly polls: NCP to contest 65 seats alone after talks with Congress fail

The NCP’s decision is likely to help the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), by splitting the opposition vote

mumbai Updated: Nov 27, 2017 23:34 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Gujarat Assembly,NCP,Congress
The NCP has two MLAs in the 182-seat Gujarat Assembly.(HT FILE)

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will contest 65 seats on its own in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls in December. Former allies, the Congress and NCP, failed to reach a consensus on Monday, the last day to file nominations.

The NCP’s decision is likely to help the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), by splitting the opposition vote.

“We are contesting on 65 seats in Gujarat after our alliance talks failed. The Congress believes that it can win the Assembly elections on its own, which is untrue. The party is arrogant,” said senior NCP leader Praful Patel. “The Congress kept us hanging till the last day and then were not ready to share even nine seats with us,” he added.

The NCP has two MLAs in the 182-seat Gujarat Assembly. In 2012, the party had got nine seats in the seat-sharing arrangement with Congress.

Last week, Patel said the party would go solo in the polls after the Congress declared its first list of 77 candidates without taking them into confidence. Sources said the NCP got upset as the Congress announced its candidate, Vejabhai Modedara, for the Kutiyana Assembly constituency of Porbandar district, which the NCP’s Kandhal Jadeja is the sitting MLA from.

Soon after Patel’s announcement, alliance talks resumed once more, but remained inconclusive.

Jadeja is the same MLA who had publicly backed BJP candidate Balwantsinh Rajput against Congress nominee Ahmed Patel in the high-voltage Rajya Sabha elections held in August.

However, Patel said the Congress should have risen to the occasion. “Alliances should be formed keeping in mind the larger interests of the party,” Patel said.

Congress sources told HT that their trust in the NCP had decreased. “We felt that there was no need to ally with the NCP as we will not be able to count on the party following the elections,’’ said a Gujarat Congress state leader.

The Gujarat polls will take place in two phases — December 9 and 14.

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 23:34 IST