After split with NCP, Congress may join hands with SP in Maharashtra

A day after the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) severed its 15-year-old ties with the Congress, there are reports of a possible tie up between the Grand Old Party and the Samajwadi Party for the fast approaching assembly elections in Maharashtra.

By Ritesh K Srivastava | Updated: Sep 26, 2014, 13:51 PM IST

Mumbai: A day after the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) severed its 15-year-old ties with the Congress, there are reports of a possible tie up between the Grand Old Party and the Samajwadi Party for the fast approaching assembly elections in Maharashtra.

Top sources closed to the Congress party claimed on Friday that two parties are finalising their talks in this regard and a formal announcement is likely to be made later today.

As per sources,  the Samajwadi Party is most likely to contest on eight seats.

In order to re-gain the lost ground, the state leadership of the Congress party has held several rounds of negotiations with the top SP leaders of Maharashtra. After the NCP dumped the Congress due to “incorrigible differences” over various issues, the Congress desperately needs an alliance partner, even if it does not have a strong base in the state.

Samajwadi Party (SP) Maharashtra unit chief Abu Azmi had recently held talks with the Congress leaders on forming an alliance for the upcoming polls.

Senior Congress leaders such as Mohan Prakash, state PCC chief Manikrao Thakre, state co-operation minister and senior leader Harshavardhan Patil and former minister Kripashankar Singh had met Azmi in the recent past, throwing indications that the two are most likely to join hands for the Assembly elections..

The SP, though it differs with Congress over a number of issues, wants an alliance with the Congress to keep the Shiv Sena-BJP at bay.

The development comes a day after the NCP terminated its 15-year-old alliance with the Congress after the latter unilaterally released its first list of 118 candidates late on Wednesday without consulting the former.

"We have terminated our alliance with Congress. Now we will secure support of like-minded parties and contest all the 288 seats," senior NCP leader Praful Patel said at a press conference attended by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and state NCP president Sunil Tatkare after a long meeting.

In a facile gesture, NCP also decided to pull out of the state government. Pawar met the governor on Thursday evening.

CM Chavan reacted sharply to the decision. "NCP alone is responsible for terminating the alliance, it was wrong to blame us. When Congress had moved a step forward, NCP was adamant and unilaterally decided to terminate the alliance," he said.

The anger of the NCP seemed focused on the CM. The NCP trio said Chavan was never serious about the alliance and not available for discussion on seat-sharing. "We had worked with Vilasrao Deshmukh, Ashok Chavan and Sushilkumar Shinde. In the event of a crisis or deliberations on seat-sharing, they were always available for discussion, but that was not the case with Prithviraj Chavan," said Pawar.

The CM had left for his hometown Karad, from where he has secured a ticket to fight in the October 15 assembly polls, on Wednesday morning, ignoring an NCP deadline to make a satisfactory counter offer to its demand for 144 seats and rotating CM's post.