An alliance of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), with outside support from the latter is untenable and the two parties will go together in government formation, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Manikrao Thakre told The Hindu here on Tuesday.
Earlier , NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal had stated before the media that the Congress could go ahead and form the government, and the NCP would support it from outside till the issues between the two coalition partners were sorted out.
Mr. Thakre dismissed this suggestion saying, “Such an alliance cannot be formed. They should have a representation in the government. We fought as a coalition.”
However, he refused to comment on the NCP’s new terminology of “outside support.” Mr. Thakre said in the past elections, the two parties negotiated on various matters including seat-sharing. “The 1999 arrangement was on the lines of the Sena - BJP makeup, although these parties had no governmental experience. In 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress and the allying Communist parties together had more MLAs than the NCP. After Narayan Rane joined us, our MLAs increased even more. In the recent Lok Sabha polls, the NCP asked for four more seats and we gave them one. So we have consistently negotiated [coalition] affairs.”
When asked about the bone of contention. Mr. Thakre remarked, “When you [Congress] have 20 more MLAs [how can there be equal sharing] ? ”
He said both the partners were responsible and would conclude the talks soon. Questions were raised in the media about how the protracted discussions are testing the patience of the people who gave the two parties a mandate to rule the State. Expressing concern, Raosaheb Shekhawat, Congress MLA from Amravati and President Pratibha Patil’s son told The Hindu in Mumbai, “The talks are getting unduly delayed.”