NCP to contest 45-50 Lok Sabha seats (Lead)

January 21st, 2009 - 11:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a constituent of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), plans to contest 45-50 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, the party announced here Wednesday.The party plans to field candidates across the country, including in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar and Goa, general secretary D.P. Tripathy said after the party’s working committee meeting here.

The presidents of the state NCP units also attended the meeting.

The NCP leadership will meet Feb 6 to decide on candidates and the final list would be declared by February-end, he said.

Tripathi said that the Congress should take the initiative and activate various mechanisms to bring all the UPA partners together and prepare a strategy for the Lok Sabha elections.

“The Congress should take initiative to bring together all the alliance partners and use all the mechanisms (available) to prepare a strategy for the Lok Sabha election at the earliest,” Tripathi told reporters.

Commenting on the NCP demand of 26 seats in Maharashtra, Tripathi said: “It is not our demand but our observation. We think we are the fastest growing party in Maharashtra and we deserve 26 seats.”

In 2004, the NCP and the Congress fought the Lok Sabha elections together in Maharashtra. The NCP had contested from 22 constituencies and the Congress from 26.

Responding to the question whether NCP chief Sharad Pawar can become the prime minister, Tripathi said: “As a member of the NCP, I would like to see him as prime minister of India. Pawar is qualified to become prime minister, but many things depend on political situations.”

The party wants to go to polls under the UPA banner in all states, but if that is not possible in some states, it would try to form alliances with small parties there, he said.

However, the NCP will not take any step that could help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates, he added.

Tripathy said the NCP leaders had started discussions with Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Prakash Karat, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and the leaders of regional parties to form alliances in the states.

In Kerala, the NCP was making all efforts to go with the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). If the efforts did not yield results, the NCP would contest polls from all 20 seats in the state, Tripathy said.

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