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Congress will not tolerate NCP-MNS poll pact: Ashok Chavan

The comments come in the wake of NCP leader Ajit Pawar recently meeting MNS president Raj Thackeray. The NCP has also indicated that it would like to offer the Kalyan Lok Sabha seat to MNS.

Ashok Chavan. (File)

STATE CONGRESS president Ashok Chavan on Friday said that the party has conveyed to its ally NCP that it cannot come to an understanding “covertly or overtly” with the MNS to include it in the Opposition grand alliance in Maharashtra ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Addressing mediapersons in Mumbai, Chavan said: “The Congress has clearly conveyed to the NCP its decision against the inclusion of MNS in the grand alliance… Any attempt by NCP leaders to come to an understanding with MNS overtly or covertly will not be tolerated by the Congress.”

The comments come in the wake of NCP leader Ajit Pawar recently meeting MNS president Raj Thackeray. The NCP has also indicated that it would like to offer the Kalyan Lok Sabha seat to MNS.

However, Congress leaders maintain that MNS’ anti-migrant politics would be detrimental to the party not only in Maharashtra but also in the entire Hindi heartland. “The north Indian voters loyal to the Congress would drift away if we shake hands with MNS,” said a party leader.

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The NCP, on the other hand, is keen on making MNS a part of the alliance to consolidate its electoral base in Mumbai and Thane, said party leaders. “Also, Raj Thackeray on his own may not make a dent in the Lok Sabha polls but him being a part of the Congress-NCP alliance would get us a powerful orator against BJP and Shiv Sena,” said a leader.

When contacted, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “Every party draws its own strategy in elections. So, NCP is also trying to reach out to all parties, including MNS, to consolidate the mahagathbandhan against BJP and Shiv Sena. However, just because two leaders held discussions does not mean that there is an alliance. The Congress and NCP will decide and reach consensus.”

All in the NCP are also in on board with including MNS in the alliance. A day before Ajit Pawar met Raj Thackeray, state NCP president Jayant Patil had ruled out an alliance with MNS.

First published on: 23-02-2019 at 07:25:52 am
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