NCP decides to go it alone in Gujarat polls

NCP decides to go it alone in Gujarat polls

 The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party, an ally of the Congress, has said it would contest the Gujarat Assembly polls alone.

The party said it would contest nearly 80 seats in the elections, slated for the end of the year. NCP currently has two legislators in the 182-strong Gujarat Assembly.

“Our chief (Pawar) will be here on Sunday to inaugurate our party headquarters,” senior NCP leader and MP Praful Patel said. “We would like to field our candidates in as many seats as possible. Our aim is to strengthen the party base in the state in view of the 2017 elections and beyond,” he said.

With the NCP going it alone, Gujarat is certain to face a four-cornered contest, with the ruling BJP, Congress, NCP and AAP fighting it out.

“The situation in Gujarat is deteriorating, despite claims of development by the BJP,” Patel said, adding, “There is a huge unemployment problem in the state. Farmers are not getting good rates for their produce, while law and order is at its worst.”

The former Union minister said NCP has been receiving good response from people in many places and could emerge as a credible alternative.

Patel did not entirely rule out a pre-poll alliance in the state this time, as in the past. He said a final decision on Gujarat would  be taken by August, given that the polls are due in the state only by December.

The NCP leader is said to held close-door meetings with the son of Shankersinh Vaghela, the Leader of the Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly, in Ahmedabad. It is said the ruling BJP has also begun behind-the-scene talks with some Congress leaders in the hope of poaching them.

Set to target Modi in 2019

Meanwhile, NCP is ready to march under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi as part of a national alliance to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

NCP general secretary D P Tripathi on Friday said the just-concluded Assembly elections had a clear message for the Congress — respect everyone and accept everyone. He said the Congress alone cannot fight Modi, and a national alliance of democratic parties was the need of the hour.

“To defeat the BJP ideologically, politically and electorally, we should have an alliance of all democratic parties,” Tripathi said, adding that the Congress will have to lead such a grouping.

NCP said the Congress could make a start by discussing a possible tie-up with regional outfits immediately for the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat that are scheduled later this year.

Pawar had refused to share the stage with Rahul, the Congress vice president, during the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Maharashtra in 2014.

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