Assembly poll results: NCP now eyes equal seat share in Maharashtra

The Congress' defeat in the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi has emboldened the NCP to revert to the 2009 theme of equal partnership in Maharashtra. An informal meeting of the NCP top leadership Sunday ended with an unwritten resolution that the results signalled massive public anger against the Congress and hence there was no reason for the alliance partner to go on the back foot in Maharashtra.

A senior cabinet minister told The Indian Express: "Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre will have to set aside their high-handed agenda of according secondary treatment to NCP. Now, we can begin the seat-sharing talks asking 50% of the 48 Lok Sabha seats for 2014 elections."

Chavan, meanwhile, said internal dynamics in Assembly and Parliamentary elections were not necessarily uniform, indicating that the anti-Congress sentiments might not prevail across the country in Lok Sabha polls.

However, the NCP leadership is unsure about Congress' optimism. "What is more important is the survival of the people. The survival of parties comes next. The mass anger is against price rise, which was never sincerely attended to by the top leadership in Congress holding key portfolios like finance and home," spokesperson Nawab Mulik summed up the party sentiment.

Several NCP leaders said the finance and planning departments in the last 10 years had not been able to decide on the parameters for below poverty line and above poverty line families. "At times, they say your earning should be Rs 32 per day. You can get food for Rs 5 and Rs 12. It amounts to mockery of the people," said an NCP leader.

The Congress, meanwhile, said it was time to take "corrective measures".

"The concerns of NCP are not totally baseless. Taking lessons from the Assembly polls, we have to take quick corrective measures to beef up administration to avoid similar results in Maharashtra," said an MPCC official.

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