Sharad Pawar joins ‘election this year’ chorus

NCP chief Sharad Pawar and BSP supremo Mayawati have asked their party cadres to hitch up preparations for early general election.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Lok Sabha polls are due to be held in 2014 but major political parties have begun preparations in advance, triggering speculations that General Elections may be held this year.

It was also not too long back when Samajwadi Party chief Mulyam Singh Yadav asked his party workers to prepare themselves for early polls. Taking cue from the SP chief’s statement, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati too asked her party cadres to hitch up preparations for early general election.

And now, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has joined the bandwagon suggesting the possibility of general elections in 2013 -a year ahead of its original schedule.

While Pawar’s NCP is a major ally in the Congress-led UPA government at the centre, Mayawati’s party provides external support to the ruling coalition.

A reports published by Mid-Day on Wednesday quoted Pawar telling the NCP ministers at a meeting in Mumbai yesterday that Lok Sabha polls may be held later this year.

The NCP chief is believed to have said this at the meeting held at deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s official residence on Narayan Dabholkar Road at Malabar Hill.
“Whether the election will be announced soon after the presentation of the Union Budget or in early winter months this year cannot be predicted now. Nothing can be said as of now. Even state assembly elections can be advanced. The Congress can fight these elections on its own, ignoring the alliance partners. Accordingly, (NCP) ministers should now concentrate on the drought-like situation prevailing in 13 districts of the state,” the NCP chief was quoted as saying by Mid-Day.

Pawar’s statement has baffled the NCP leaders and workers and fuelled speculations about the uncertainty over the Lok Sabha elections.

NCP stronghold in western Maharashtra is severely affected by the scarcity of water and this is likely to become a major poll issue in the days to come.

Pawar wants the presence of his party leaders and ministers in these water scarcity-hit areas to help NCP maintain its grip in the regions, and prevent any anti-incumbent wave.
On the other hand, BSP supremo Mayawati also reportedly asked her dedicated party leaders in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow to begin preparations keeping in mind that Lok Sabha elections can happen anytime this year.

She also announced her party’s state-level convention for Maharashtra, scheduled to be held on February 17. She also held a meeting on January 3 and 4, asking party workers to kick off preparations for the general polls.

The Maharashtra unit of the Congress, on the other hand, announced a meeting of party leaders and state and central cabinet ministers to assess the current political scenario in a meeting scheduled for January 9.

Party general secretary Mukul Wasnik, party in-charge and general secretary Mohan Prakash and Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde are expected to attend the crucial meeting.