NCP to go it alone if Congress says no to pre-poll UPA (Lead)

March 1st, 2009 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNashik (Maharashtra), March 1 (IANS) Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar Sunday said if the Congress does not agree to a national-level alliances with its United Progressive Alliance (UPA) partners, his party would be forced to go separately in several states in the forthcoming elections.
Addressing media persons during the party’s crucial pre-election convention here, Pawar said that if the NCP makes “adjustments” at the state level, in many cases it would be forced to accommodate those opposed to the Congress.

Pawar said it was imperative for the Congress to make the announcement soon. “It is a big party and can even announce candidates till the last moment, but smaller parties cannot wait, they have to go out in the field for electioneering,” he said.

He said that if the Congress continued to remain adamant with its decision of not having pre-poll alliances at the national level, then the NCP would be compelled to go separately in states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Orissa and the North-Eastern states.

Asked what could be the reason for the Congress stand, Pawar said: “Each party has its own strategy of building its base, and they have every right to do so.”

However, this could create confusion among the voters if the UPA partners do not face the elections together, and this could benefit parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he added.

To a query on the NCP demand for sharing the chief minister’s post in Maharashtra, Pawar said: “It is the Congress which has shown us the way.”

In this context, he cited the example of the power sharing formula adopted by the Congress in Jammu & Kashmir which paved the way for Ghulam Nabi Azad to head the state.

Pawar said that NCP has already had seat-sharing talks with regional leaders like N. Chandrababu Naidu and Jayalalitha, but “no decision has emerged so far.” However, there was no mention of the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.

“We told them that we want to go with the Congress at the national level, and apart from Maharashtra, the NCP wanted to put up around 20 candidates for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections elsewhere in the country,” Pawar told media persons.

Asked whether he felt that in the run-up to the elections, the Congress was only highlighting the achievements of only its members in the UPA Government, Pawar denied it.

“We have got a sagacious leader like Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister, even the performance of Lalu Prasad as railway minister earned accolades from the Harvard University. On many occasion, the PM has lauded the performance of the agriculture ministry,” explained Pawar, who heads the agriculture ministry.

Earlier, state NCP president R.R. Patil ,while addressing the convention, made a passionate plea for Pawar to be made the next prime minister.

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