The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Saturday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of having struck a “secret pact” with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and said the saffron party was “instigating” a fight between the Sena and the Raj Thackeray-led party which resulted in recent clashes in Mumbai.

According to NCP spokesman Nawab Malik, senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde and Nitin Gadkari’s overtures towards the MNS and the subsequent meeting with Mr. Raj Thackeray had miffed the Sena widening the rift between the two parties.

“BJP is in a secret pact with MNS and this has irked the Sena leadership... it has never happened that the Sena and MNS were fighting on the streets. It (the growing conflict between MNS and Sena) is a game plan of the BJP and a conspiracy against the Shiv Sena,” Mr. Malik said.

He said that since BJP was unable to strike alliance with MNS openly, they had a secret understanding with the MNS.

Speaking on the election prospects in Maharashtra, Mr. Malik said the Congress-NCP alliance will win 38 of 48 seats in the State.

This will be a repeat performance of the 1998, he said.