MUMBAI: In a further attempt to substantiate its charge that the BJP had a tacit understanding with the NCP in the recent Maharashtra elections, the Congress has released to the Express some data pertaining to the Assembly poll results. According to the data, as many as 81 NCP candidates had forfeited their deposits in seats won by the BJP.
As a result, the NCP now holds the rather unflattering record of having had the maximum number of candidates among the state’s mainstream political parties, who forfeited their deposits in a single election. The BJP won 122 seats while the NCP got 41. The Congress, though, managed to win one seat more than the NCP.
Also, the BJP candidates forfeited their deposits in 12 seats where the NCP finished runners-up. A senior Congress leader argued that the data showed that the NCP had deliberately fielded weak candidates against the BJP to give them an edge.
“The BJP too reciprocated by fielding weak candidates against the NCP in their stronghold. That they had a tacit understanding is evident in 17 constituencies where the NCP won and the BJP candidates forfeited their deposits,” he said. Congress spokesperson Anant Gadgil said that the data vindicated the party’s stand that there was an underhand dealing between BJP and the NCP.
“We have been saying this from the day the NCP severed ties with us following the BJP’s break-up with the Shiv Sena. In the Lok Sabha elections, Narendra Modi had not campaigned in the constituencies where the NCP was in the fray. It was the first indication. This is the NCP’s safe deposit in the BJP bank,” Gadgil said.
BJP leader Eknath Khadse, though, rubbished the Congress’ claim. “The NCP candidates lost their deposits not because they were weak. It happened because our candidates outperformed. People were fed up with the NCP so they voted for the BJP. The Cong is looking for excuses for defeat,” he said.
The NCP has declared its intention to extend outside support to the BJP to form the next government. “In a situation where the government will need to prove its majority by conducting voting in the House our members will abstain,” NCP chief Sharad Pawar has said.