With the seat-sharing talks between coalition partners Congress and NCP remaining stuck ahead of October 15 Assembly elections, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday said that parleys are on to decide whether a pre-poll or a post-poll alliance is suited for the ruling partners.
“The forthcoming Assembly elections will be the sixth election which Congress and NCP will fight. Discussions are on whether a post-poll or a pre-poll alliance is favourable for both Congress and NCP,” Chavan said at a function organised by a news channel here.
The NCP and Congress had fought the first election after the formation of the NCP (in 1999), as rivals, before coming together to form a post-poll alliance. After that, however, they have been pre-poll allies and have fought all elections from 2004 together.
To a question on who will be the next chief minister, Chavan evaded a direct reply, saying, “He will be the one who has social acceptability.”
Chavan, a senior Congress leader and former Union minister, said that though the campaign for recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections was run in the US Presidential style, “it remains to be seen whether the same is applicable in the Assembly elections.”
To a query on Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s chief ministerial ambitions, Chavan said that the Sena president has no experience in governance. “Uddhav was not part of the previous Sena-BJP government (in 1995),” he said.
On Congress’ strategy to take on the saffron alliance, Chavan said that “poor performance” of the Sena-BJP in the municipal corporations of Mumbai and Nagpur will be highlighted.
When asked whether the decision of the Democratic Front (DF) government to provide reservations to Maratha and Muslims communities in government jobs and educational institutions was motivated by vote bank politics, Chavan replied in negative.
On queries regarding the leadership of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, Chavan said, “He (Rahul) is trying to reinvent the party and bring in new leadership.”
When asked to list challenges the state is facing, Chavan said the main challenge is to bring uniform development. “Priority is Mumbai as well as rural development,” he added.
Chavan, often criticised from within Congress and ally NCP, besides the opposition over his “leadership abilities”, said that the atmosphere of cynicism prevailing at the time of his anointment as chief minister has now improved.
“Since the time I took over as chief minister I had focused on improvement of policy framework,” he added.