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Cong leaders say let’s contest alone,NCP MP says let them

Two days after the Lok Sabha results were announced,cracks have surfaced in the Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra.

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune |
May 19, 2009 10:20:22 pm

Two days after the Lok Sabha results were announced,cracks have surfaced in the Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra. Spurred by its performance in Uttar Pradesh,the Congress seems to be gearing up to go solo in the assembly elections in Maharashtra. Not to be outdone,the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP),which suffered a setback in the Lok Sabha elections,said it was ready to go it alone if the situation so warranted.

Murmurs of a probable divorce between the long-time allies took off immediately after the Lok Sabha results were out. And they have become more audible. First it was the Congress which upped the ante for parting ways. And now the NCP has joined the issue,clearly spelling out that it won’t mind if the Congress chooses its own course

It was the Congress’ performance in Uttar Pradesh,which saw a revival in its fortunes that enthused former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and veteran Congress leader Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil,who was the party’s campaign chief,to put forth the demand that the Congress break its alliance with the NCP in the state for the assembly elections.

“Yes,I have demanded that the Congress should contest assembly elections on its own,” Deshmukh said on Monday.

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“Rahul Gandhi has showed us the way. He has turned the Congress fortunes around in Uttar Pradesh. The party leadership should take the cue from the success in Uttar Pradesh and implement the formula in Maharashtra,” said Deshmukh.

Vikhe-Patil said the Congress should not commit the same mistake it did in the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra. “The Congress should stop this business of alliances. It should seriously think about contesting on its own,” Patil said.

“I have already made this recommendation to the party high command,” he added.

The NCP seems to be ready to part ways with the Congress,though grudgingly.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter,Supriya Sule,said though her party was keen on continuing the alliance,it would not mind if the Congress breaks away. “We are very keen and serious on continuing with our alliance for the assembly elections. But if the Congress wants to break free,we can’t help it,” Sule said.

The newly-elected MP from Baramati said that the NCP and the Congress have had a healthy relationship at the Centre and the state in the last years and there was no reason why both can’t continue in the same spirit.

“Ideally,we would like to continue our alliance with the Congress. But in case we have to contest on our own,we are prepared for that,” said Sule,who is among three women MPs elected from Maharashtra.

Of the 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra,the Congress has bagged 17 while the NCP has won 8 seats. The Congress contested in 25 seats while the NCP candidates fought from 21 constituencies.

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