Mumbai: Signaling strains in their relations, senior NCP leader Praful Patel has squarely blamed Congress for their debacle in 2014 polls, evoking a strong reaction from the latter that said it was an attempt to keep Prime Minister Narendra Modi in "good humour".
"Congress sank and took us down as well," Patel said while addressing NCP workers at Akola in Vidarbha region yesterday.
"In the last five years, it is because of Congress only that its workers and supporters and also NCP have suffered," the former aviation minister said.
His remarks come ahead of the crucial civic body polls in Maharashtra. The Congress-NCP alliance ruled the state for 15 years.
"Scams were not really scams, but a conspiracy by Congress itself and leaders like Prithviraj Chavan to defame us," he alleged.
"They sank and they also took us down. But, we are not that weak. We will not drown, we know how to swim. We will come back with all our strength and we would prove that NCP is not less than anyone," Patel said.
"We will stay cautious from now. We do not have to support Congress for each and everything. If people at regional level consider it is appropriate to maintain relations with Congress, then they can.
"As of now, we do not have a coalition with any party in Maharashtra or in the country," Patel said.
Reacting to the attack, MPCC spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, "Some people in NCP make such a statement because they want to keep (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi in good humour."
"Are they (NCP) making such statements because of the fear that the BJP government will take action on their earlier misdeeds or is there any other reason?" Sawant said.
In Delhi, AICC spokesperson Manish Tewari said the party was acertaining facts from the NCP leader and added that if it was a state-centric comment, then the state party unit would respond to it.