Cracks Widening in Cong-NCP Alliance

With the Nationalist Congress Party continuing to push for a greater share of the Maharashtra parliamentary pie, the Congress may soon give up hopes of reviving the alliance that hit trouble over seat sharing after smooth sailing through the last five years, the situation is sure to be welcomed by the other alliances.

The Congress central leadership is said to be reworking its plans which may soon see it contesting all 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

The Third Front views NCP boss Sharad Pawar as a possible post-poll ally while the NDA has already lampooned Pawar for being taken for a ride by the Congress leadership.

Compulsions aside, several senior Congress leaders say the party should ditch efforts to convince Pawar and focus on the looming elections.

Though the Congress is in no position to take any further chances, the alliance nay-sayers suggest that the party could up its stakes in Maharashtra by contesting all parliamentary segments.

Prominent amongst those publicly urging the Congress to go it alone is former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh who has an obvious score to settle with Pawar.

The NCP boss was instrumental in pushing Deshmukh out of office in lieu of NCP leader and deputy chief minister RR Patil’s resignation, after Patil made controversial comments over the killing of an armed Bihari youth by Mumbai police last year.

During the last electoral outing in 2004, the Congress and NCP had shared seats in a 27:21 ratio.

The NCP now wants the share formala revised and also seeks some Congress seats due to the change in demographic patterns brought forth by the delimitation exercise.

With chief minister Ashok Chavan and state Congress unit chief Mankirao Thakre camping in New Delhi to attend a series of meetings to finalise candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, the rumour mills agog with speculations over the future of the alliance.

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