Even as the NCP has made overtures to the Congress for an alliance in the coming BMC elections,leaders from both parties feel that a pre-poll understanding could lead to rebellion in some seats by ticket aspirants.
In case we decide to enter into an alliance,both the Congress and NCP will benefit in terms of additional votes. But,the NCP will face more damage as it will get less seats, a senior NCP leader said. He said the parties had,for the 2007 civic polls,sealed an agreement for 65 seats to the NCP and were negotiating on another five seats when the discussions fell through and the parties contested on their own. He said the party was not likely to get more than 70 seats. He said in case the two parties decided to ally,they faced the prospect of aspirants and activists who had been denied tickets deciding to throw their hats into the ring as independents in some seats. Since we will get less seats than the Congress,there is a chance that our disgruntled workers may shift loyalties to other parties, the NCP leader said. However,he said the parties would be able to counter the effect of the Shiv Sena- BJP alliance tying up with the Ramdas Athavale-led faction of the Republican Party of India (RPI) if they come together.
The leader said the NCP was also open to deals with other like-minded parties Samajwadi Party or the RPI factions in case the negotiations with the Congress did not succeed.
The NCP had managed to get 14 corporators elected in the 2002 and 2007 BMC elections. It has an MP (Sanjay Dina Patil) and three MLAs (Sachin Ahir,Nawab Malik and Milind Kamble) from the city. A Congress leader also said there were two opinions within the party on tying up with the NCP,adding that the party strategy was to align with the NCP in areas where it was weak to take on the Sena-BJP. In case we fight solo,the disgruntlement in the party will be less,as our workers will feel alienated in seats that have been left for the NCP to contest, he said,stating that a post-poll alliance could be arrived at with the NCP.
He said a party faction opposed to the present Mumbai Congress leadership was also not keen on an alliance with the NCP. It will be difficult to accommodate workers in case we enter into an alliance with the NCP, a Congress activist said.