Tuljapur/Pune: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday alleged that NCP pulled out of his government as part of a "game plan" with BJP even as NCP leader Sharad Pawar dismissed as "rumour mongering" speculation of a post-poll alliance with the saffron party.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, meanwhile, rejected Pawar's remark that her party was responsible for ending their 15-year-old alliance over seat-sharing in Maharashtra.
"The reason for it (severing of ties) was not us, not me, not Rahul, not Congress," Gandhi told reporters in Jammu when asked about Pawar's reported remarks that Congress was responsible for the alliance break up.
Chavan levelled the allegation of NCP's "game plan" while launching the Congress campaign for the state Assembly polls on October 15 at a well-attended rally in the pilgrim town of Tuljapur in Marathwada's Osmanabad district.
"NCP has given the State (which is under Central rule) to BJP by withdrawing support. This was their game plan... they have done this only for political gains. They want a share in the Central Ministry.. Everyone will know who joins hands with the BJP post elections," he said.
The Congress-led Democratic Front(DF) Government collapsed after the Sharad Pawar-led party withdrew support to it last week, paving the way for imposition of President's rule.
Pawar on his part described the speculation of a possible post-poll alliance between his party and BJP as "rumour mongering" for political gains.
He, however, congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "marketing" mission during the ongoing visit of the US and initiating a dialogue with the large NRI population there.
"It is a very intelligent and practical decision on his part which deserves congratulations," Pawar told a Marathi news channel.
Pawar also criticised Chavan for not having a "coalition mindset" and accused him of indulging in "diversionary tactics".
"The previous Congress chief ministers who led the alliance namely Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Ashok Chavan displayed the coalition mindset to run the government. But Prithviraj Chavan seemed to have a different mindset that queered the pitch," he said.
Pawar said Chavan tried to project a different image of himself and indulged in "diversionary tactics" by allegedly creating an atmosphere of suspicion about NCP to malign its image.
"All that we had asked for was to speed up administration. He (Chavan) expedited work in the last month of the term, disposing of files of Urban Development department. Had he done it earlier, these questions would not have arisen," he added.