Keen for alliance but if not possible, options open: Maharashtra CM Prithiviraj Chavan

Posted By: PTI
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New Delhi, Sep 22: As the Congress and NCP bargain hard over seat-sharing for the upcoming Assembly polls in Maharashtra, state Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan on Monday said his party was "keen" for an alliance but is willing to go alone if need be.

Chavan, who was in Delhi meeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and other top leaders, said the party is willing to give back the 10 seats that it took from the NCP in 2004. He made it clear that Congress cannot enter into an alliance which is "not honourable".

"Congress is keen for an alliance but if it is not possible, other options are open," Chavan told PTI. Asked if he was confident of striking up an alliance, he said one does not know how things will turn in negotiations.

"The point is every single party that is going into polls, will have to... if there is no alliance, we will have to go into election (alone). There is no question of being confident or otherwise. We are in for winning and we would like to fight maximum number of seats that situation permits," he said.

Chavan, who is fighting to retain power in the crucial state that has been ruled by the alliance for 15 years, said both NCP and the Congress cannot enter into an alliance which is not honourable. "We cannot humiliate each other and expect to work closely with each other. It has to be an alliance which preserves the respect and dignity of each political party," he said.

The Chief Minister said, "We are willing to return the 10 seats that we took back. We are willing to go in the 2004 scenario which was derived from the relative strength of two parties in 1999". 

The NCP had contested on 114 of 288 assembly seats in the state in 2009 Assembly polls while in 2004, on 124 seats. This time, the party had demanded 144 seats.

"More important than the relative number is which seat the Congress is willing to concede and give up. That is very important. We would actually like to retain the seats which we lost and a good chance of winning and NCP would like to do likewise.

"But, there is no question of giving up any one seat because will concede seats that we have lost. I think what we will do, we will offer a certain number of seats and from that whatever number of seats is ultimately decided, NCP will select the seats and take," Chavan said.

He said there would be some conditions like regional balance, "no district should be cleaned up, no parliamentary seat should be cleaned up. So subject to these small conditions, the seats that we will offer, NCP will make a choice out of those".

The Maharashtra CM said such negotiations always happens before elections and results of past elections is factored in slightly. "There is no fixed formula," he said.

Asked about the seat sharing tussle between BJP and Shiv Sena, he said the BJP was being "arrogant". "We are watching the drama unfold live on TV and I think it displays a bit of arrogance on part of the BJP because of the Lok Sabha victory.

"They need to treat either their younger brothers or elder brothers, whatever you want to call... they are a major party at national level but Shiv Sena is an important party at state level. Shiv Sena has always mentored BJP for last so many years," Chavan said.


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