CM Prithviraj Chavan confirms Congress-NCP pre-poll alliance

CM Prithviraj Chavan said Sunday Congress and NCP would continue alliance for parliamentary and assembly elections in 2014 to defeat communal forces in Maharashtra.

He said, "Congress and NCP will contest the elections together. Our objective is to fight communal forces."

On the growing political ambitions of NCP, he said, "There is nothing wrong if a party wants to expand its electoral base and improve its numerical strength. It is natural."

The statements assume significance against the backdrop of Congress president Sonia Gandhi making it clear at the Jaipur chintan shivir of the party that the state leadership should bear it mind that coalition politics was here to stay.

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), which wanted to explore the possibility of contesting the elections alone because of alleged high-handedness of NCP, however, may not agree with Chavan.

NCP president Sharad Pawar is also for continuing the alliance, at least for the coming general elections.

He said at a function in Nagpur: "I have always favoured the secular alliance to keep communal forces away."

The central leadership of Congress has asked Chavan not to engage Pawar in any confrontation at this stage. The tone of Chavan and Pawar may force aggressive leaders in Congress and NCP to reconsider.

A few weeks ago, MPCC president Manikrao Thakre had said, "A final decision on the alliance would be taken after eliciting views of Congress leaders across districts."

About the same time, deputy CM Ajit Pawar said in Kolhapur, "NCP is preparing to contest all 288 seats in the state."

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