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NCP wants pre-poll alliance with Congress in Gujarat
Parag Dave in Ahmedabad | May 24, 2007 15:44 IST
The Nationalist Congress Party is keen to form a pre-poll alliance with the Congress for the Gujarat assembly elections scheduled to be held later this year.
The Congress, on the other hand, is keeping its cards close to its chest on the issue.
"NCP is willing to form an alliance of secular parties with the Congress for Gujarat elections," Civil Aviation Minister and NCP leader Praful Patel told PTI over phone from New Delhi.
"Though we have not begun any sort of negotiations with the Congress on the issue, we are keen to have a pre-poll alliance," Patel added.
State Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki, when contacted on the issue of alliance said, "We do have alliance at the national level. But nothing is fixed at the state level so far."
Some of the Congressmen, though, are opposing such a alliance saying that the party would waste seats if they have pre-poll alliance with the NCP.
Congress leader Balwant Manvar, who was earlier with the state NCP said, "Sharad Pawar's party has no say in the state. Seat sharing agreement with them will be a wastage of seats for the Congress".
The NCP was able to create difficulties for the Congress in the last assembly elections and had also made a mark in the subsequent local body elections at the municipal corporation and municipalties level.
The party had fielded candidates in around 80 seats last in 2002 assembly elections. It had dented the chances of Congress candidates in around 15 hard fought seats, NCP sources said.
Congress leader Kamal Nath who was the incharge of state's affairs during the last assembly elections had called NCP, BJP's B-team in Gujarat.
Without having any base in Gujarat, the NCP's only intention behind putting up a large number of candidates is to damage the Congress prospects, he had said.
The party was responsible for three-pronged fight in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections, which had led to loss of many so-called secure seats for the Congress.
The NCP had captured Sutarapada municipalty and also won Rapar Taluka panchyat in Kutch and Babra Taluka panchyat in Amreli district.
With an aim to increase its base in Gujarat, NCP had chosen Surat as the venue for its national convention in June 2005, which was a great success.
NCP local leader hoped that due to their party's performance in elections in the last five years, the Congress will form a pre-poll alliance with them.
"If the alliance does not work out, the pary is likely to put up candidates in most of the seats," NCP leader said.