Rift between Cong-NCP helping ruling Maharashtra alliance?

Mumbai, Dec 14: With BJP and Shiv Sena comfortably placed in the government in Maharashtra, former allies Congress and NCP who ruled the state for 15 years are now fighting for the main opposition space in the state.

BJP, which formed its first government in the state, feels the divided opposition will help it to govern in a better way.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar

Though both the parties do not see an immediate reunion to challenge the ruling alliance, NCP leaders do not rule out the possibility completely.

They say a decision will be taken when elections are close, depending on the prevailing political situation of that time.

Recently, both the parties made an attempt to come together for floor coordination in the state legislature to counter the state government on the issue of drought.

Congress state president Manikrao Thakre has also said that after his party gets the Leader of Opposition post, it will bring all the Opposition parties together for a strong force to oppose the government.

However, the coordination was short-lived with NCP moving a no-confidence motion against veteran Congressman and Legislative council chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh in the ongoing Nagpur Winter Session.

BJP feels that the efforts of floor coordination will not work politically as both Congress and NCP do not see eye to eye on the issue of Leader of Opposition post itself.

NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said the focus of both the parties now would be organisational strengthening, launching membership drives and raising issue-based movements aggressively to take on the government.

Malik said NCP has eight to 10 leaders with mass base who are good orators and can take up issues of people. However, Congress leaders like Prithviraj Chavan and Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil don't command a following in their own party, he claimed. "In about six months, NCP will overtake Congress as the main opposition party," Malik claimed.

In the Assembly polls, NCP bagged 41 seats while Congress 42 despite having contested all the 288 seats on their own. "Each NCP leader like Ajit Pawar, R R Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal, Sunil Tatkare have a role defined for them unlike the Congress," Malik said.


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