Pawar for alliance with Cong in Mumbai civic polls

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said an alliance with Congress was necessary for BMC elections due early next year.

Last Updated: Nov 10, 2011, 22:11 PM IST

Mumbai: Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday said an alliance with Congress was necessary for Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections due early next year.
The NCP chief also appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Praful Patel to hold talks with Congress.

The alliance was necessary in the interest of Mumbai and for "providing better life to the citizens", Pawar said at a meeting of the executive committee of NCP`s Mumbai unit.

The committee headed by Patel would talk to Congress and the decision to form an alliance would be taken within two weeks, he said.

"Deterioration of the standard of living in Mumbai is a cause for concern. Attempts are being made to damage the social fabric of the megapolis which is known for its multi-cultural and multi-linguistic nature," Pawar said.

The city is facing issues such as burgeoning population, infrastructure bottlenecks, poor roads, health, water scarcity, shortage of open spaces, etc, he said.
"There should be a co-ordination between the Centre, the state government and the civic body. The need of the hour is to have a government bound by single ideology. Despite the Centre`s and the state government`s best efforts to improve the condition of the city, the civic body (controlled by Shiv Sena-BJP) is not cooperative," he alleged.

The NCP president conceded the party could not win the BMC polls single-handedly. "We have to accept this fact, hence the need to align with like-minded parties. If we can tie up with Congress at the Centre, Maharashtra and Goa, what stops us from forming alliance for Mumbai polls?

"If there is no agreement on having alliance, we will have to start selecting our candidates immediately and work for increasing our number in the BMC from the present 14," Pawar said.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Union Minister Praful Patel said the party was weak in Vidarbha and Mumbai and NCP could not be the top party in the state unless it improved the base in these two areas.

PTI