NCP candidates battle Congress in Chhattisgarh despite allianceNovember 6th, 2008 - 4:01 pm ICT by IANS
Raipur, Nov 6 (IANS) The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is contesting the Chhattisgarh polls in alliance with the Congress, has been unable to rein in its own candidates, who have filed nominations to contest in 10 seats more than what the two parties had agreed upon.The NCP, which said its main objective in the mineral rich state was to stop the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party from returning to power, has nevertheless fielded candidates against Congress nominees in 10 seats. This has surprised state Congress leaders.
The NCP has just one member in the outgoing 90-member state assembly. As part of the alliance, NCP was to contest three seats, leaving 87 to the Congress.
Congress leaders are of the opinion that they had already given the NCP two more seats than it deserved. Apart from the Chandrapur seat in Janjgir district, the Congress has given the NCP two safe seats - Manendragarh and Samri.
“Congress can’t understand why NCP has put candidates in 10 seats besides three seats officially being allotted to it,” a party official told IANS Thursday.
He added: “NCP candidates against Congress nominees at Basna, Khallari, Kurud, Sihawa, Durg Rural, Rajim, Bindranawagarh, Chitrakot, Bastar and Sakti can affect the Congress’ chances to return to power.”
Congress leader and former chief minister Ajit Jogi said: “We are trying to sort out the issue with NCP as early as possible.”
Nobel Verma, NCP state president and the party’s lone legislator who is contesting from Chandrapur to retain his seat, said: “We are fighting polls in an alliance with Congress. Those NCP leaders who have filed papers and are adamant to go against the alignment will be expelled from the party.”
The state goes to polls in two phases - Nov 14 and 20.
In the first phase, 39 segments will go to polls while remaining 51 seats will see election in the second and the final phase.