NCP to contest 22 seats in 12 states

On Sunday when the Election Commission announced the dates for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar reiterated that he will not contest a Lok Sabha seat but instead will stand for a Rajya Sabha nomination.

Addressing the press after deliberating with party leaders and workers in Mumbai over the party’s strategy for the polls, Mr. Pawar told reporters that the party would field its candidates in 12 States, including Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

“I feel that the younger generation should take charge. They should at least constitute 20 to 30 per cent of the total seats. People like me who are above 75 years of age can take a backseat and take up other responsibilities and give the younger generation a chance. But this needs to be first started at the district and State level elections, and then in the Lok Sabha polls,” Mr. Pawar told reporters.

Even while addressing NCP members, Mr. Pawar ended his speech saying that a new team of young candidates, including women, should be constituted in Maharashtra.

The NCP said it would follow the 2009 formula of seat-sharing with the Congress and would contest 22 seats. Asked about the Congress’ demand for more seats, Mr. Pawar said he hadn’t got any such indication at the national level.

Earlier in the day, senior NCP leader Praful Patel said the party was likely to swap seats with its ally. “If in certain seats we feel that the Congress has a better chance of winning and vice-versa, then we might swap those seats with the Congress, but we are going field candidates in 22 seats.” said Mr. Patel.

Asked if the NCP saw any impact of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Maharashtra, Mr. Pawar said: “While the AAP might have performed well elsewhere, the electorate of Maharashtra vote differently and they will vote us back to power.”

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