Nagpur: Trashing aside any more scope of talks to strike alliance for upcoming Nagpur Municipal Corporation elections, the Congress and NCP have now decided to contest the polls separately. “No there will be no further talks in this regard. Both the parties will go solo for sure,” informed a source close to the development.
On the other hand BJP and Shiv Sena have already decided to fight the elections without any alliance. If all the four major parties stick to their decisions and go alone in the elections, it will be the third time in the history of NMC after 1997 and 2002.
With 30 days to go for polling, no headway in alliance talks is likely to make candidates’ campaign difficult in the backdrop of the new four-member ward system.
During a press conference on Friday, NCP city president Anil Deshmukh said the party will contest the elections only in alliance with Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). “We went to Congress and offered alliance for preventing division of secular votes. But comments by Congress leaders on NCP a day before were not at all tolerable. We will show our strength in the elections. The party is now open to alliance with all secular parties barring Congress,” he said.
NCP working president Pravin Kunte said the party was upset with Congress leaders’ statement. “We came to know that Congress passed a resolution on not entering into an alliance with NCP, on Thursday. Over 850 party leaders and workers sought tickets and interviews were also held between January 16 and 19. We have already announced an alliance with IUML. The final decision on seat sharing will be completed soon. NCP, in alliance with partners, will contest all 151 seats,” he said.
“Congress leaders said NCP had no presence in the city. This irked our top leaders,” the NCP leader told TOI.
However, NCP sources also said the final decision will be taken by the state unit in the parliamentary board meeting on January 24 in Mumbai.
Congress city president Vikas Thakre welcomed NCP’s decision to contest separately. “NCP approached us and Congress too commenced talks on alliance. We did not make any statement. It was just a feeling of party workers. We also have to listen to our party workers,” he said.
Congress sources said the doors for NCP will be kept open for alliance.
In fact, NCP seems upset with Congress’ offer of contesting only 12 of the total 151 seats. Both the two parties will wait and a take final decision only after the BJP and Shiv Sena take a decision related to alliance.
Anil Sole, BJP’s in-charge for NMC elections, said the party can begin talks with Shiv Sena if the latter approaches. “Shiv Sena is a big party in Mumbai. Hence, the BJP commenced talks. However, Shiv Sena leaders are time and again giving statements on no alliance chances. They are welcome to contest separately,” he said.
Shiv Sena district president Satish Harde said the decision rests with the high command. “Party leaders and workers here do not want an alliance with BJP, which has been conveyed to the high command,” he said.
In the meantime, BJP city general secretary Sandip Joshi said election campaigning will not be difficult as the party has already completed one round of door-to-door visits in all wards and the second is underway. “We have completed the ‘Jan Samwad’ drive. Now, all party workers and aspirants are taking MLAs’ to households. There are around 15,000 houses in a ward, so covering 1,000 in a day in 15 days can be managed. Also, it is not necessary for candidates to campaign jointly,” he said.
“All the 1,250 ticket seekers are jointly reaching out to the people and revealing BJP’s scams. Our booth-level structure is very strong and active. Congress is already among its voters,” he said.