To work in tandem with 2014 polls as common goal

The Congress and its coalition ally, the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party, will jointly contest the Lok Sabha polls and the Maharashtra Assembly elections in 2014, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Sunday.

“There is no bitterness now,” Mr. Chavan told reporters at his residence ‘Varsha’ on the occasion of his completing two years in office.

While acknowledging that relations had not always been smooth, he said both would henceforth be working in tandem, keeping the 2014 polls as their common goal.

Mr. Chavan’s tenure has been marked by stormy relations with the NCP, with the latter often pointing an accusing finger at the Chief Minister.

While senior NCP Ministers Sunil Tatkare (Water Resources) and Chhagan Bhujbal (Public Works) have come under the scanner of the anti-corruption bureau (ACB), Congress-NCP relations plummeted with the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in September this year.

“Relations were fractious only for the civic and the local bodies’ polls. I had attempted to reach out to them [the NCP]. We now have to work together as colleagues in Maharashtra and at the Centre,” he said.

The allies contested independently in the recent civic body polls in Nanded district and 10 other districts in the State.

Mr. Chavan said coordination committee meetings between the two parties were being held once in a month at the State and the Central levels. “Comprehensive discussions on all the government projects, action plans and pending decisions along with plans and approvals are held during these meetings. At the local level, we meet once a week,” he said.