CM call sparks NCP rethink on saffron alliance

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s appeal to the NCP to snap ties with saffron parties in the Pune Municipal Corporation...

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune | Published:January 19, 2009 1:14 am

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s appeal to the NCP to snap ties with saffron parties in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has forced the party into a rethink,as the NCP is set to contest Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the Congress.

“The appeal has been made by the chief minister. Hence,it is likely to be taken seriously,” a senior NCP leader said,adding that a section of the city unit had also realised it would be difficult to contest the general elections in alliance with the Shiv Sena-BJP.

Though the Congress is likely to contest the Pune seat,he said Baramati and Shirur Lok Sabha constituencies,part of which is under the PMC,would be contested by the NCP as per an earlier seat-sharing formula.

“It would be difficult to seek votes from citizens in the PMC area against saffron alliance candidates when the party is in alliance in the civic body. It’s the right time to do a rethink,” he said.

Of the six Assembly segments in Baramati constituency,Purandar,Bhor and Khadakwasla include 4,3 and 16 wards respectively of the PMC. Hadapsar Assembly segment in Shirur has 15 wards.

The BJP-Sena is likely to contest Baramati and Shirur as per their poll pact. But the NCP is likely to have Rajya Sabha MP Supriya Sule,daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar,as the candidate in Baramati,while there is pressure from local party workers on Pawar to contest Shirur.

“The Congress wants us to break ties with the Sena and the BJP in PMC. Any decision will be taken by the party high command,” city NCP chief Jaideo Gaikwad said.

Chavan had on Thursday made an open appeal to NCP to call off the “unholy alliance” with the Sena-BJP. Earlier,the city Congress,led by sitting MP Suresh Kalmadi,had demanded that the NCP separate from the saffron alliance,but NCP leaders had turned it down.

Meanwhile,a BJP leader said,“We have no problem continuing the alliance. Most probably,we may contest against a Congress candidate in the Pune seat.” The Sena is silent as it has nothing to lose or gain in the Lok Sabha elections to the Pune seat.

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