While they have forged an alliance for the Lok Sabha elections, the leaders of Congress and NCP are finding it difficult to bring their cadre together for the campaign in Pune district. In a bid to resolve these niggling issues, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and some local Congress leaders met deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and some local NCP leaders at the residence of Congress leader Harshvardhan Patil in Pune of Friday.
“It is a known fact that there are issues at the local level between the Congress and the NCP. These need to be resolved before the Lok Sabha elections,” said Pawar. Like the Shiv Sena and BJP in the ruling alliance, the two parties in the opposition coalition have faced similar issues across districts in the state.
He said workers from both the Congress and the NCP will hold a meeting at the Congress Bhavan to chalk out steps to make the party cadre work together for the alliance candidates in the district.
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As per the seat-sharing arrangement between the two parties, the Congress is contesting from the Pune Lok Sabha seat but has not declared its candidate yet, while the NCP is contesting from Baramati, Shirur and Maval seats and has declared Supriya Sule, Amol Kolhe and Parth Pawar as its candidates, respectively.
Chavan, however, claimed that leaders of both parties have been able to put their differences at the local level aside and decide to campaign for the alliance candidate. “Everyone has agreed to work together for the alliance candidate in the Lok Sabha elections and accept the decisions on certain issues that will be taken by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar,” he said.
After fighting the 2014 Lok Sabha elections together, the two parties had gone their separate ways for the assembly elections held later in the same year, and leaders of the Congress and NCP were pitted against each other in several constituencies.
Patil said the alliance between the Congress and the NCP was put in place a year ago but workers from both parties have had a few confrontations since then. “The party leaders will work to bring together the cadre of both parties,” he said.
The NCP has also deputed its senior leaders to various parliamentary constituencies to coordinate the election campaign and help the candidates effectively reach out to voters.