Ajit hints at NCP staking claim for CM post

Ajit hints at NCP staking claim for CM post

Indicating that NCP might stake a claim for the post of chief minister if it emerged as the single-largest party in Assembly elections, party leader Ajit Pawar today said it will not repeat the "mistakes" it had committed after 2004 elections.

The NCP in polls that year had forsaken its claim for the top post in favour of Congress.

The deputy chief minister also justified the demand for contesting 144 seats in October 15 elections to 288-member House, even though the consensus on sharing of seats continue to elude the ruling alliance partners.

"Congress has rejected our demand for equal seats. We are hopeful that intervention of Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi will help to resolve the deadlock," he said.

Responding to a query, the NCP stalwart said: "Past mistakes will not be repeated if NCP emerges as the single- largest party, as it did in 2004 assembly polls."

In 2004, NCP had emerged as the single-largest party with 71 seats but ceded the chief ministerial post to ally Congress in return for two additional Cabinet and three ministers of state.

"NCP wants an alliance with Congress but if some people want to go alone we are also ready," he said.

To a question on whether he would be the chief ministerial candidate, Ajit told reporters that elected MLAs of the party will decide on their leader.

Ajit said the NCP's demand for 144 seats was justified. "It is a practical demand. Earlier, formulae were worked out on the basis of previous election results. So according to the latest Lok Sabha poll result we deserve equal sharing. There is no headway in Congress-NCP talks so far, he said.

Meanwhile, state unit Congress president Manikrao Thakre dismissed the statement of his NCP counterpart Sunil Tatkare that NCP was still awaiting a proposal from Congress on seat-sharing talks.

"Staying adamant on a particular number of seats and blaming us for not inviting them for talks is not correct," Thakre told reporters separately.


"At the state level, NCP told us that if we accept their equal seat-sharing formula, then only we should invite them for talks. We told them that they should call us for discussions if they agree for the 2009 formula," Thakre said.

The senior Congress leader further said that the party president Sonia Gandhi will be briefed regarding the situation "after which a discussion will take place with NCP."
Congress and NCP had contested 170 and 113 seats in 2009 Assembly polls, and won 82 and 62 seats, respectively.

To a query, Ajit said if NCP gets to form the government again it will scrap toll levy and decision making would be expedited.

Referring to Congress MLA Prashant Thakur quitting the party to join BJP over the issue of Kharghar toll plaza, Ajit lamented that a young political activist like Prashant quit over this issue.

"40 per cent of the state population pass through the Khargar toll to come to Mumbai. I was in favour of the scrapping of the toll but Cidco and MMRDA would need to pay Rs 1200 cr to the government.. It was not a big deal but chief minister did not agree," he said.

However, Thakre rejected this, saying, "the chief minister was positive to his (Thakur's) demand for scrapping Kharghar toll."

Meanwhile, NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said that so far no official discussion on seat-sharing talks has happened since the first meeting between Sharad Pawar and AK Antony on August 20.

"Praful Patel has held informal discussions with some Congress leaders but nothing concrete has emerged. We are hopeful that the outcome will be positive. We will come to know about the Congress stand after they call us for talks," he said.

Taking on NDA government, RLD leader told PTI, "After BJP lost power in 2004, several of its leaders continued to occupy bungalows meant for ministers. When I have already informed them that I would leave by September 24, what was the need to cut power and water supply? I had written to the government seeking four months time to vacate the house. But there has been no response."

On the protests against the eviction orders, Ajit Singh said, "The government should be sensitive to their demand. It should open a dialogue with them. They see it as Charan Singh's house."

Meanwhile, Naidu has stated that all the procedures were followed in serving eviction notices on the former UPA Ministers who refused to vacate government bungalows.
As far as Ajit Singh is concerned, he was was initially allowed one month time to vacate and later the time was extended and finally it was only after 80 days of unauthorised staying, supply of power and water was cut off by the NDMC.

"It is clear that Singh has been given ample opportunities and time to vacate the said bungalow. I, therefore, beg to differ with you that this was neither an unceremonious nor a discourteous act as due procedure and time limits have been observed," Naidu has said in his letter to Hooda.

Naidu said the Union Minister who has been allotted the bungalow has been staying in a guest house causing much hardship to him and his family members besides adversely impacting his official work.

Members of Jat Arakshan Samiti and Choudhary Charan Singh Vichar Manch were among those who staged protest today.

Police and provincial armed constabulary personnel had barricaded the area in the wake of threat by agitators to cut off water supply.

Protesters started gathering at Manota village and started marching towards Muradnagar Water Regulator.

Senior Superintendent of Police Dharmendra Yadav led the police contingent which stopped the protesters from entering the cordoned area.

The enraged protesters then tried to break the cordon and indulged in violence.
The water supply to Delhi was stopped by the protesters for two hours, an RLD leader claimed but officials denied it.

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