Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said that his party has finalised a pre-poll alliance with the Congress and both the parties will contest on 125 seats each in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections. Maharashtra Assembly has 288 seats. The Congress and NCP have left 38 seats for other alliance partners in the state.
In the last assembly polls, the Congress and NCP had contested separately but lost the elections to BJP and Shiv Sena. The Congress won 42 of 287 seats it contested whereas its alliance partner managed to win just 41 of 278. The Bharatiya Janata Party had emerged as the single largest party in the state by winning 122 of 260 seats it contested. Shiv Sena was the second largest party with 63 seats in its kitty.
Interestingly, BJP had an alliance with Shiv Sena and the Congress was with the NCP. But all these partiers snapped their alliance just before the assembly polls over seat-sharing. And five years later, all four parties have united again with their respective partners.
However, the Congress and NCP had no other option but to unite to take on BJP-Shiv Sena following some landmark decisions by the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The revocation of Article 370 is likely to boost the prospect of BJP-Shiv Sena in the upcoming elections.
The Congress-NCP alliance comes at a time when the Congress and NCP have faced a string of defections. Both the parties have lost a host of heavyweight leaders to the BJP and Shiv Sena in the last few weeks. Just days ago, NCP's former state chief Bhaskar Jadhav quit the party to join Shiv Sena. Before Jadhav, another two former state presidents — Madhukar Pichad and Babanrao Pachpute — had left the party.
The Congress too has lost a number of leaders from the state. Last week, its four-time MLA Harshavardhan Patil quit the party to join the BJP. Bollywood actor Urmila Matondkar, who had joined ahead of Lok Sabha polls, too resigned from the Congress citing internal politics.