NCP's alliance with Congress to continue in LS polls: Pichad



Mumbai: Asserting that its alliance with Congress would continue, NCP on Saturday said it has taken stock of the political situation in the 22 Lok Sabha constituencies it had contested in 2009 as general elections can happen anytime.

Maharashtra NCP president Madhukar Pichad told reporters here that party chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had reviewed the party position in the 22 seats it had contested last time.

"He has told us that NCP will fight the Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the Congress. Pawar also asked the state unit to ensure that there is effective co-ordination between the two alliance partners," Pichad said adding that Pawar has already had a meeting with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding alliance.

Pichad also said Pawar had informed the party that Lok Sabha elections could be held any time and it had to be prepared to face the electorate. "All eyes are on whether the Finance Bill is passed on April 30," Pichad said.

Giving details of the two-day deliberations that Pawar held with the state unit from yesterday, Pichad said since candidates with winning capability would be fielded, there was a talk about asking the senior state cabinet ministers to contest the Lok Sabha elections. "However, no decision has been taken," he added.

Pawar held constituency-wise discussions with district presidents, legislators, MPs, candidates, who lost the election and local bodies representatives of the party in all the 22 Lok Sabha seats. "Pawar took review of the political situation in these constituencies and gave a patient hearing to the problems faced at the grass-root organisational level," he said.

Pichad said the party has decided to set up booth and ward level units of the party comprising all sections of the society. "This will be done by June so that in each ward and booth, there will be at least 50 NCP workers," he said.

Pichad said there was no discussion on swapping of 22 seats with the congress or demanding more in the seat sharing in the meeting.

There are 48 Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra out of which NCP contested 22 in alliance with Congress. NCP won eight out of the 22 seats it contested.

In the review meeting of Maadha Lok Sabha seat, Pichad said the workers asked Pawar to reconsider his decision not to contest the Lok Sabha polls, to which Pawar said today's meeting had not been called to discuss candidates.

Pichad said even though NCP had lost in 14 Lok Sabha seats, the party has made a considerable progress in the assembly and local bodies elections, which were held after the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

PTI