Other States

NCP irked by Cong.’s cold response to poll alliance talks

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Don’t test our patience, say leaders

Though both Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) seem to be coordinating to take on the State government in the legislature, the NCP leadership is disturbed by the Congress’s not-so-enthusiastic response to talks of an alliance for the general and Assembly elections.

The general sentiment among NCP leaders is that the Congress is planning to wait and watch, and then bargain hard as the elections approach. The NCP wants to finalise the decision at the earliest, saying it will give them extra time to prepare for the polls.

Test of patience

The parties have held two meetings to discuss a possible alliance, both with the same outcome. “The Congress has agreed to the alliance, but every time, it has told us the final decision will be taken by Delhi. It seems the Congress wants to test our patience. But it should not stretch it too much,” said a senior NCP leader, who has taken part in the discussions.

Another NCP MP said it has always been the Congress’s strategy to keep the other side hanging till the last minute.

“While we are together in the fight against the BJP, the Congress should not take us for granted. Being a national party, they might have different State elections on their priority list. But Maharashtra is an important State and the alliance must be finalised soon,” the MP said.

Other alliances

An NCP MLA said the BJP is reaching out to Shiv Sena, despite the latter already having announced that it will go it alone in the polls. BJP national chief Amit Shah also met rebel Congress leader Narayan Rane to discuss an alliance.

On the other hand, the Congress’s growing proximity with farmers’ leader and Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetty and smaller Republican parties is a cause of concern for the NCP. “This cannot happen independently if we are going to contest as a joint force,” the MLA said.

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said the issue will be discussed in a joint meeting, and he did not wish to comment on it.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 7:47:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ncp-irked-by-congs-cold-response-to-poll-alliance-talks/article22921181.ece

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