Battle for Maharashtra: Cong-NCP Alliance Shaky

The clock seems to be ticking away, yet again, on the Congress — Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance, with the partners showing signs of conflict over a seat sharing strategy for the October 13 polls to the Maharashtra assembly.

While Congress party workers have repeatedly said that they want to contest the elections independently, NCP state president RR Patil has also hinted that all isn’t well between his party and the Congress.

He said that though, his party wanted an alliance with the Congress to keep communal forces (read BJP-Shiv Sena) out of power, he added that the NCP desire was not enough to pull off the alliance.

“Everybody knows who is openly speaking about fighting elections on their own strength,” he added.

“We don’t think there will be any problem but in case there is a dispute we want to be ready for it. But I am hopeful that the issue will be resolved,” said Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

In 2004 the Congress contested 165 of the total 288 assembly segments, the NCP had contested 123 seats, but with the recent Lok Sabha victory under its belt the Congress party seems to be in a belligerent mood and is likely to seek a greater pound of flesh.

Pundits suggest that if at all the Congress and NCP fail to ink a pre-poll deal and the MNS manages to live up to its initial promise and polarizes the BJP-Sena vote banks, the poll result in Maharashtra could surprise the most astute of political commentators.

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