The Bahujan Samaj Party has refuted speculation about a possible tie-up with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party ahead of the Assembly polls in Maharashtra in October.

“There were rumours that Mr. Pawar met our party chief Mayawati, which are false. We have had not held any talks with the NCP. We intend to contest the Maharashtra assembly polls on our own strength and are not looking for an alliance,” clarified party general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra on Thursday.

Talk of a meeting between the two leaders had been making the rounds since Wednesday, triggering speculation about whether the NCP was looking for new political partners. The Congress and the NCP run the coalition government in the State.

The BSP has not won a single seat in Maharashtra so far, but has managed to cut into the vote especially in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.

NCP looking beyond Congress

The NCP, however, said while it is in talks with the Congress, it is also hoping to reach out to smaller parties. “We are reaching out to other like-minded parties ahead of the polls, to avoid splitting the vote,” said party spokesperson Nawab Malik.

The NCP is pushing for a harder bargain in its seat-sharing arrangement with the Congress party since it performed better in the Lok Sabha elections. The NCP won four seats compared to the two seats won by the Congress. “The seats should be allotted on the basis of winnability,” said Mr. Malik. After their debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, cadres in both the Congress and the NCP have been pushing the leadership to contest the Assembly polls on their own.