With notification for the October 15 Maharashtra assembly elections to be issued on Saturday, the NCP said it is still awaiting a proposal from the Congress to discuss the seat-sharing arrangement but at the same time has completed all preparations to contest the polls which are barely a month away.
State Unit President Sunil Tatkare told that his party had asked the Congress to take a call on finalising the seat sharing formula, but there has been “no response” as yet from the ally.
“We are hoping that we are invited for talks in a day or two as the poll notification will be issued tomorrow and the process of filing of nominations will begin. But, at the same time, we have completed our election preparations as well,” he added.
Tatkare was talking after inducting Malegaon MLA belonging to the Jan Surajya Shakti party, Mufti Mohammed Ismail. Along with Ismail, leaders of local outfits from Malegaon also joined the party.
Tatkare said more inductions into the party will be held in next few days. Referring to senior leaders like Suryakanta Patil and Babanrao Pachpute resigning to join the BJP, Tatkare said, “It was said that NCP is in trouble as everyone is quitting the party. But it is not so.”
To a question on whether NCP plans to weaken the Congress by inducting Independent MLAs who had contested as rebels from seats in Congress quota, Tatkare said Congress was a very old party and such things don’t weaken it.
Replying to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s criticism of NCP that it fields rebels to defeat the Congress candidates, Tatkare said the same thing can be applied to Congress as well.
“In Parbhani Lok Sabha seat, Congress MLA Ramprasad Bordikar worked to defeat NCP nominee but still no action was taken against the legislator. While NCP sacked Deepak Kesarkar, Sawantwadi MLA who refused to campaign for Nilesh Rane in Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha seat,” he added.
Tatkare further said if Congress says Supriya Sule won Baramati Lok Sabha seat because of them, the fact is that Congress won the Hingoli and Nanded lok Sabha seats because of NCP.
The NCP is demanding an equal number of seats (144) as the Congress in the State Assembly, a stand which it feels is “practical and justified.”
The Sharad Pawar-led outfit emerged as the single largest party with 71 seats in 2004, but ceded the chief ministerial post to ally Congress in return for two additional cabinet and three ministers of state berths.