In a snub to his nephew and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar who had said last week that his party would fight all 288 Assembly seats in the state if ally Congress did not give it 144 seats, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said Saturday winning possibility would determine the seat-sharing formula between the two allies.
“It could be more or less than 144 seats,” the NCP chief said, adding that the equal seat-sharing was not on the agenda. “We (the NCP) are analysing the Assembly constituency-wise results of the Lok Sabha elections. The discussion on seat-sharing would be based on this analysis,” he said at a press conference.
Pawar also made it clear that contesting elections independently was not on the NCP’s agenda.
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Asked about Ajit’s earlier announcement, he quipped, “As many of you know (addressing newspersons), I am the party chief.”
Pawar said broad guidelines for seat-sharing talks would be decided following his meetings with the Congress’s central leadership.
“Only after these guidelines are finalised will we sit with state Congress leaders for decisions regarding exchange of seats and coordination between parties among other issues,” he said.
The NCP chief also hit out at Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan who had earlier refuted Pawar’s claim that senior Congress leaders in Delhi had urged him to jointly lead the election campaign of both parties.
“He (Chavan) was not present for the meeting when some Congress working committee members had made the offer,” Pawar said.
The NCP also took a dig at the Congress when asked if the two allies should project a chief ministerial candidate. “It seems to me that they (the Congress) have four to five claimants for the post. Let them sort it out amongst themselves first. We can then discuss the issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pawar claimed the Narendra Modi factor won’t be as relevant during the Assembly polls as it was in the Lok Sabha polls. “I feel people voted for a stable and decisive government during the Lok Sabha polls. Expectation among people, especially women, was that doing this would bring about immediate change. Decisions and policies implemented by the Union government during the past month-and-a half indicate their expectations might not be fulfilled,” he said.