NCP to make foray in Karnataka

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Bangalore, Feb 5: Mr Sharad Pawar led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which had representation in 14 states in the country, will make its foray into Karnataka for the first time by fielding its candidates in the coming mid-term Assembly elections, party General Secretary V Rajeswaran said today.

Speaking to newspersons here, he said the party expected Congress, which had a coalition arrangement with NCP in Maharashtra and in the Centre, to have electoral understanding in the state.

However, there had been no indications to this effect so far but it was the duty of the Congress to unite all secular forces to keep at bay the communal BJP. "If Congress does not prefer to partner with we will fight the elections alone," he said.

The NCP leader, who represented Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu as Parliament member earlier, said the party had 'noticeable' people's support in 15 to 18 districts in North Karnataka, especially those bordering Maharashtra. It would now make efforts to popularise the party in the Southern parts of the state, he said.

Mr Rajeswaran said his party wanted the elections in Karnataka to be held at the earliest, but it was likely to be delayed.

"Whether the Delimitation Committee Report, which suggested redrawing the boundaries of Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies, is implemented or not we want the elections to be held early in the state. But indications are that it is likely to be delayed," he added.

He said the NCP would be forming its own government in Meghalaya and made major inroads in Gujarath after forging a poll alliance with Congress. "Our strategy is to reach a stage where no secular party would be able to form a government in Karnataka without NCP's help," he claimed.

UNI

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