CONG-NCP to of­fer few seats for smaller al­lies

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - YOURSPACE - Ke­taki Ghoge

MUM­BAI: Af­ter be­ing re­duced to a sin­gle-digit tally in the 2014 Lok Sabha (LS) polls, for­mer rul­ing al­lies Congress-ncp are look­ing at var­i­ous seat shar­ing per­mu­ta­tions to en­sure max­i­mum suc­cess in the polls next year. This in­cludes giv­ing LS seats to smaller al­lies in a bid to en­sure greater sup­port for them and a stronger op­po­si­tion against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

At a seat-shar­ing dis­cus­sion on Fri­day late evening, Congress and NCP lead­ers also spoke on the seats that could be kept aside for al­lies from each other’s quota. The par­ties plan to leave the Hatkan­gale seat in western Ma­ha­rash­tra for sit­ting MP and farm­ers’ leader Raju Shetti of the Swab­hi­mani Shetkari Pak­sha. The al­lies are also likely to leave the Din­dori seat in north Ma­ha­rash­tra for the Com­mu­nist Party of In­dia (CPI).

Be­sides this, the par­ties may con­sider giv­ing one LS seat in Mum­bai to Sa­ma­jwadi Party to bring it in the grand al­liance against the BJP. The NCP is also plan­ning to give the Pal­ghar Lok Sabha seat to lo­cal strong­man Hi­ten­dra Thakur’s party Bahu­jan Vikas Aghadi.

With this, the par­ties hope to en­list the larger sup­port of the tribal com­mu­nity, Mus­lims and peas­ants in the polls. Get­ting more al­lies on board is cru­cial given that Dalit leader Prakash Ambed­kar has re­fused to get on board with Congress-ncp and in­stead has tied up with the All In­dia Ma­jlis e It­te­had ul Mus­limeen (AIMIM) to float a third front in Ma­ha­rash­tra.

“Even if we get Peas­ants and Work­ers Party, Janata Dal con­stituents, Sa­ma­jwadi Party, Com­mu­nist Par­ties, Shetkari Pak­sha it can be a for­mi­da­ble al­liance against BJP. CPI has asked for Din­dori seat and we will give it to them. Sim­i­larly, Shetti is sit­ting MP so he gets the Hatkan­gale seat,” said a se­nior NCP leader.

Both the par­ties plan to wrap their seat-shar­ing talks by this month end to be­gin an early cam-

paign for the LS. “Winnabil­ity is the big­gest cri­te­ria. It’s not about a spe­cific num­ber or a 50:50 shar­ing of seats be­tween the two par­ties. We will keep some seats aside for our other al­lies be­cause we are keen on a larger anti-bjp coali­tion,” said Jayant Patil, state pres­i­dent of NCP.

Dur­ing the dis­cus­sions, the Congress made a bid for Ya­vat­mal (Vi­darbha), Raver (north Ma­ha­rash­tra) and Kol­ha­pur (western Ma­ha­rash­tra) — LS seats that are from the NCP quota. The NCP asked for Au­rangabad and Pune LS seats that are cur­rently with the Congress quota.

Congress had won only two seats while NCP had won four seats in the 2014 gen­eral polls, while the SENA-BJP al­liance won 42 seats (in­clud­ing the Hatkan­gale seat won by Shetti, a for­mer ally of BJP-SENA).

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