MUMBAI: In order to stem the rising saffron tide, the Maharashtra Congress has taken the lead in forming a “grand alliance of like-minded parties” MPCC president Ashok Chavan said here on Wednesday after a meeting of key leaders of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party. “We have decided to go ahead with a grand alliance of like-minded parties,” Chavan said after the meeting at the official residence of the Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.
The Congress and the NCP are hoping to get former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP), and former UP CM Mayawati’s the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M), Jogendra Kawade’s People’s Republican Party (People’s RPI), Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh (BBMS), Hitendra Thakur’s Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), Raju Shetti’s Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) and the Peasants’ and Workers’ Party (PWP) on board.
Chavan said that a committee of senior leaders from the Congress and the NCP has been formed to speak to like-minded parties before the seat-sharing talks begin. The Congress and the NCP had been trying to forge an alliance for past some time. Though there had been several meetings in the past few months, the parties were not able to decide on the seat-sharing formula.
“Now that the Congress had taken a lead, we hope that a united front against the BJP can be forged,” said a senior NCP leader while requesting anonymity.“The big decision was to take the smaller parties along. Though we have reservations over seat sharing, we shall first take into confidence smaller parties like the BVA and SSS who would want to contest at least one Lok Sabha seat each. It is easier to make a decision then.
“After finalizing the seats for all the allies, Congress and NCP’s seat-sharing would be discussed,” the leader said adding that this would ensure that the votes against ruling party don’t get fragmented. Once, the formula for Lok Sabha is finalised, seat-sharing for Assembly elections too can be easily finalised roughly around the same equation, the leader added.
“We have decided that the seats which are being claimed by both the sides would be dealt with by senior leaders at the end. Winning potential of the candidates would be a key criterion while deciding on such constituencies,” said a Congress leader, who was part of the meeting.