Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday asked the Congress to rethink on its decision of not having an alliance with United Progressive Alliance partners at the national level. "We hope that Congress rethinks the decision of not having pact with UPA allies at national level. Our worry is that if we are forced to go in for local-level adjustments, we will have to include those who are opposed to Congress," Pawar told media-persons in Nashik.
Though Pawar did not elaborate, his remarks about having a pact with 'rivals of Congress' came in backdrop of recent reports that NCP may align with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra in the ensuing elections. "Our desire is to have a national alliance with Congress. I hope Congress takes a decision on the issue at least a week before last date for filing nominations for the Lok Sabha elections," Pawar said. Asked if he was giving a deadline to Congress, Pawar said "We belong to a small party. How can we give an ultimatum to a big party like Congress?"
Asked what he thought was the reason for Congress to decide on not having a tie-up with UPA partners at the national level, Pawar said "every party thinks of how to build their own base...and they have every right to do so. If we make adjustments at local level, many times we will have to take with us those opposed to the Congress. If the Congress goes ahead with its decision, we will have to take separate route in separate states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Orissa and the North-East," Pawar said. He stressed that there will be confusion among people if the UPA partners did not face elections together.
Replying to a query over the NCP, part of the ruling coalition with Congress in Maharashtra, insisting on sharing the chief ministerial chair for half the term, Pawar said "Congress has shown us the way." He cited the example of power sharing formula adopted by Congress in Jammu and Kashmir which paved the way for Ghulam Nabi Azad to become chief minister.
Pawar said his party had seat-sharing talks with regional leaders like Chandrababu Naidu and Jayalalitha but "no final decision has been taken". "We told them that we want to go with Congress at the national level," he said, adding that NCP wanted to put up candidates of around 20 Lok Sabha seats outside Maharashtra.