Pawar concedes CM's post to Cong

Pawar concedes CM's post to Cong

Assembly poll counting in Maharashtra, Haryana, Arunachal today

Pawar concedes CM's post to Cong

A day before Thursday’s counting of the votes in the three states, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar declared that his party would not stake claim to the Maharashtra chief minister’s post, if the Democratic Front is voted to power for a third consecutive term.

The polling for the 288-member Assembly was held on October 13 and the counting was deferred till the Deepavali festivities were over.

Pawar, also the Union agriculture minister, set at rest speculations about the possibility of a hitch between the Congress and the NCP over the top post.

“Definitely, they (the Congress) will have better number than us. I do not expect that (the CM’s post to come to us),” he told reporters after being asked if the NCP would make a claim for the Chief Minister’s post in the event the ruling Democratic Front got a fresh mandate to form the government in the state.

In the 2004 state Assembly elections, the NCP had won more seats than the Congress as a result of which Pawar had asked the Congress to give up the chief ministership in favour of his party. Days of negotiations over the leadership issue had reached a dead-end and both the sides used the intervening Deepavali festivities to take a break of over a week’s time before reaching an amicable settlement.

Pawar’s announcement has left just the Congress quartet of incumbent Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, his Cabinet colleague Narayan Rane, Union heavy industries minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Union energy minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in the race for the DF leadership.

Advantage DF

Exit polls have given advantage to the DF in view of the widely expected spoiler role Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Samiti would play for the Sena-BJP combine. In the DF, the Congress has contested 170 seats while the NCP fielding its nominees in 112 seats.

However, in the northern state of Haryana, which too had gone for Assembly polls along with Arunachal Pradesh on October 13, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress is widely expected to retain power comfortably as the Opposition is a divided lot.

Oppn in disarray

Opposition Indian National Lok Dal of Om Prakash Chautala and the BJP are fighting the elections separately and they have to contend with a third outfit floated by estranged Congress leader Bhajan Lal. The state Assembly has 90 seats. Hooda will be the Congress choice for the CM’s post.

Similarly, the Congress appeared to be comfortably placed in the northeastern state.
The electioneering for the 60 seats in the state assembly in the border state assembly had triggered a war of words between India and China as Beijing objected to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s campaigning in the state.