NCP leader Ajit Pawar has said that in the case of a pre-poll alliance, the party “would expect equal share on a par with the Congress”.
Pawar’s comment has come at a time when several political parties have started discussions on tie-ups with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“If we look at the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly results in Maharashtra, there is hardly any difference between the Congress and the NCP. Therefore, the NCP would expect equal share on a par with Congress,” Pawar said.
Earlier, NCP senior leader Praful Patel too spoke of similar expectations regarding any pre-poll alliance.
Within the NCP, leaders have indicated that in the Assembly for 288 seats, the party will expect a formula of 50: 50 seat-sharing agreement if a pre-poll alliance is to be workable in the Maharashtra Assembly polls, and the same formula should be followed for the 48 Lok Sabha seats.
The elections are scheduled for 2019 and the process of political permutation and combination has already started in Maharashtra.
The Congress is making a district-wise assessment to elicit a response on a pre-poll alliance with the NCP.
The NCP state unit is keenly watching the exercise in the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee led by Ashok Chavan and the All India Congress Committee general secretary in charge of Maharashtra Mohan Prakash.
A senior general secretary of the MPCC, requesting anonymity, said: “We have arrived at two conclusions at this moment. In principle, we want a pre-poll alliance with the NCP. Second, the Congress is not going to give 50 per cent seats to the NCP in the Lok Sabha or the Assembly (polls).”
Explaining the reasons, the MPCC official, who is a part of the political process, said: “Maharashtra is an important state. It (the Congress) will definitely retain an edge against the NCP in the Assembly.”
The Congress leadership has said, “The pre-poll alliance can take place with only those parties which ideologically subscribe to the Congress and secularism.”
The party is open for talks with the Peasants and Workers Party, Samajwadi Party and the CPI(M). It has also started discussions with the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana that is led by Raju Shetti.