Mumbai: Aiming to avoid division of votes against the Modi government, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is all set to induct Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) into the Congress-NCP alliance. However, the Congress is not convinced and maintains that an alliance with the MNS would affect its traditional voters from the Hindi belt in Mumbai.
However, no Congress leader from Mumbai was ready to speak on record about the MNS. NCP leader Ajit Pawar met Raj on Wednesday, and informed the party’s parliamentary board about their discussions at a meeting held in the YB Chavan Centre in Mumbai on Thursday. Party chief Sharad Pawar presided over this meeting.
Ajit Pawar, told the media afterwards, “I have told the party about the discussion between me and Raj. I personally feel MNS should join the alliance to defeat the Modi government. Now, the final decision must be taken by the party leaders.” The NCP state president Jayant Patil will meet Congress state president Ashok Chavan to convince him about the MNS, Ajit Pawar further informed.
Congress leaders feel Hindi voters will not be receptive to the idea of the MNS joining the Congress-NCP alliance. A former Congress leader, on condition of anonymity, said that the MNS would badly affect the Congress vote bank. “We are not ready to accept the MNS as our ally. It will damage the image of Congress and will also affect polls in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,” said the Congress leader.
When asked for his reaction, Sanjay Nirupam, the Mumbai Congress president said he would call back. Meanwhile, Pawar said that the joint poll campaign of the NCP and the Congress would begin from February 20 and the first rally would be in Nanded. The second rally would be in Parli in Beed district on February 23.