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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Gujarat assembly elections: NCP-JDU announces alliance, says open to tie-up with Congress

NCP and JDU said that they together wanted to form a strong alternate political alliance in the state

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: April 8, 2017 12:47:05 am
NCP, JD(U), Nitish Kumar, Janata Dal (United) Leader Nitish Kumar, Sharad Pawar, Indian Express, Indian Express News NCP’s Praful Patel and JDU’s K C Tyagi address media persons in Ahmedabad on Friday. Syed Khalique Ahmed

The NCP and JDU on Friday announced to have a ‘broad-based’ political alliance against the BJP in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state. The announcement was made by NCP leader Praful Patel and JDU national general secretary KC Tyagi at a press conference here.

Stating that the Congress had not been able to defeat the BJP that has been ruling in the state for the last 22 years, the two leaders said that NCP and JDU together wanted to form a strong alternate political alliance in the state.

Praful Patel said NCP-JDU alliance was “anti-BJP’’ ,but not “anti-Congress’’ as some people would like to interpret.”We have formed the alliance because the existing opposition (Congress) in the state has not been able to defeat the BJP in the last 22 years’’, said Patel.

“We don’t intend to divide the opposition votes.However, the Congress is not the natural opposition to the BJP’’, Patel pointed out. Asked if the NCP and JDU would like to take the Congress as part of its “broad-based’’ political alliance, Patel said so far, they had not approached the Congress nor have the Congress leaders approached them on this issue. “But the Congress needs to be flexible and more generous for any kind of political alliance’’, NCP leader said. He said his party had a bitter experience with the Congress in 2012 assembly polls in Gujarat. NCP, he said, was allotted nine seats as part of electoral alliance in 2012 assembly elections but the Congress at the last moment fielded its own candidates on eight seats, breaking the alliance. “We contested and won two seats on our own’’, said Patel. He said that the NCP was also a part of the UPA government but the Congress broke the alliance with the party in 2014 assembly polls in Maharashtra, which resulted in BJP taking over political power in that state.

“We are not averse to having an alliance with Congress. The Congress, NCP and JDU are like-minded parties and the alliance is possible’’, said Patel. However, he made it clear there was no question of alliance with AAP and Shiv Sena. He said while Shiv Sena had no presence in Gujarat, alliance would not be possible with AAP.

Stating that “no one party alone can defeat BJP under the existing political scenario not only in Gujarat but also in other parts of the country’’, JDU national general secretary K C Tyagi said this necessitated an “anti-BJP’’ front of like-minded parties. He said that BJP was defeated in Bihar because of political alliance of all parties, including the Congress. But bigger parties needed to sacrifice. In Bihar assembly polls, he said, JDU and Nitish Kumar sacrificed 50 of the party’s sitting MLAs and alloted 40 seats to the Congress when the Congress was having only four MLAs in the state assembly. With alliance, the Congress won 28 seats in Bihar. But the same alliance failed in UP and BJP came to power despite the fact that all non-BJP parties together polled 95 lakh votes or 11 per cent more votes than polled by the BJP. He said the Congress being a bigger party in Gujarat needed to sacrifice for a broad political alliance with a view to defeating the BJP.

“Had non-BJP parties fought the UP polls together, BJP would not have come to power’’, said Tyagi. On questions regarding the number of seats the two parties would be contesting Tyagi said that both the parties were having their own areas of influence and the number of candidates to be fielded would be decided by state presidents-Chhotuibhai Vasava of JDU and Jayant Patel alias Bosky of NCP. Both are sitting MLAs and were present in the press conference.

Patel and Tyagi raised issues pertaining to the farming community in the state. They said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not fulfilled his promises to raise minimum support price (MSP) of agricultural produce by 50 per cent he made during 2014 Lok Sabha elections.”There is no increase in MSP in the last three years of Modi’s rule’’, the two leaders said.They also said that the cases of farmers suicides had increased by 14 per cent after Modi became PM.

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