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Assembly poll: NCP to go alone if Cong withdraws support

June 17, 2009 22:34 IST
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday asked his partymen to be prepared to go it alone for Maharashtra assembly elections later this year if Congress was averse to continuation of its alliance.

He said if Congress and NCP contest separately, Shiv-Sena alliance would benefit. "Our desire is to go with Congress (for the assembly poll) but that should not be a view which only NCP shares," Pawar said at a party meeting in Mumbai on Wednesday evening.

If the alliance with Congress fails to materialise, party workers and functionaries should gear up to contest all 288 assembly seats, Pawar said.

Assembly polls are due in around three months. "During the recent polls, Congress-NCP got 39 per cent votes and Shiv Sena-BJP alliance secured 36 per cent votes," Pawar said.

"There is a difference of only three per cent and if we (Congress and NCP) were to contest separately, the saffron alliance will benefit," he said.

Referring to NCP's performance in Lok Saha poll which saw the party's tally in the state coming down from nine to eight, Pawar said over-confidence and lack of unity among party functionaries in some constituencies were to blame.

"Some of us were working for others," Pawar said, referring to the infighting in NCP which led to loss of its candidates in its stronghold western Maharashtra.

'Even Sonia wasn't confident of so many seats in UP'

Meanwhile, Pawar also said on Wednesday that the Lok Sabha election results proved predictions wrong and "even Congress President Sonia Gandhi was not sure that her party would perform so well in Uttar Pradesh."

"I was among the select few who attended a meeting with the Congress President just before the results. I told her that Congress would fare well in UP but she did not feel so," Pawar said at a party meeting in Mumbai.

"Congress got 22 seats in UP. I had told her that my assessment was that Congress would do well in states like UP and Haryana. Even she did not think that Congress would get so many seats in UP," Pawar said.

The support of Muslims and Dalits who 'discarded' Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party was a major factor behind Congress' sterling show in the north Indian state, the Union Agriculture Minister said.

"The Lok Sabha election results have shown us that the voters make leaders realise their folly if they have strayed from the track", Pawar said. "Such a thing happened after the Emergency and after Indira Gandhi apologised, Congress regained power," Pawar added.

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