Maharashtra: NCP won’t make alliances where it has strong presence, says party leaders

With maximum civic bodies in the state going to polls in next two years, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has chalked out its plan and decided to join hands with other two ruling parties where it has fewer corporators in the civic body. However, it may not go into an alliance in the areas where it enjoys a stronghold. In Mumbai, the NCP may join hands with the Shiv Sena, the party leaders said.

Five major municipal corporations — Navi Mumbai, Aurangabad, Vasai-Virar, Kalyan-Dombivli and Kolhapur will face polls in next few months, while 27 district councils, 10 municipal corporations including Mumbai and more than 100 municipal councils and nagar panchayats will go to polls in 2022. All the political parties are preparing to wrest major pie in the local bodies.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar has convened a meeting of party ministers, members of Parliament and senior leaders to chalk out the strategy and decide over the alliance with other two ruling parties — Shiv Sena and Congress in these elections.

The leaders discussed various aspects for forming alliances and contesting polls on their own. “After due deliberation, it was decided that the party will contest the polls on its own where it has a strong presence or power in the local body. In the local bodies, where it has few corporators, we will go for the alliance with either or both of them,” said a senior minister, requesting anonymity.

“The logic behind is to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) away from the power. Where BJP is strong, Maharasthra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners will come together to defeat it. But where any of us are in a stronger position then we will be contesting alone. This is to avoid the likely defection to the BJP from the ruling party members on being denied the tickets if fought in the alliance, as it reduces the number of seats available to contest. This would ultimately benefit the BJP and we want to avoid it,” said another minister, wishing not to be named.

Elaborating it further, the leader said, “For instance in Kolhapur Municipal Corporation which is ruled by Congress and NCP, we would be contesting the polls independently. BJP too has a strong presence in the civic body and thus, contesting elections independently will benefit both of us.”

In Mumbai, where NCP is on the weaker ground, and Congress cannot concede on less number of seats if alliance fought together, the Pawar-led party is expected to go with Sena.

After the meeting, state minority affairs minister and party spokesperson Nawab Malik told reporters that the party discussed preparations for the upcoming local bodies elections and strategy to strengthen the party position in the state. “Pawar saheb’s stand for Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections is very clear. Though Congress has been talking about going solo and the talks over alliance are yet to begin, all the three ruling parties should come together. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray too is positive on this,” Malik said when asked about BMC polls.

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