New Delhi: NCP’s “rift” with the Congress may be short-lived and the party may return to the opposition fold after getting some assurances from the grand old party.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had on Friday morning assured senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad of attending the meeting of 18 opposition parties convened by Sonia Gandhi to chart programmes to jointly counter an aggressive BJP.
However, the NCP stayed away from the meeting at the insistence of senior leader Praful Patel who was upset at the constant criticism of the Pawar-led outfit by Congress leaders who claimed that his two MLAs did not vote in favour of Ahmed Patel in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections.
The NCP decision to stay away from the meeting of opposition leaders, attended by Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool), Sitaram Yechury(CPI-M), Omar Abdullah (NC), Naresh Agarwal (SP), S C Mishra (BSP) among others, was Pawar’s way of telling the Congress that smaller allies cannot be taken for granted.
“We are not beholden to the Congress. We are contesting the Gujarat elections separately, still we voted for them in the RS polls. And what we get in return is accusations,” Patel said.
The NCP has been asserting that it had issued a whip to its two MLAs to vote in favour of Ahmed Patel and both the legislators had followed suit. The BJP camp also said that the NCP MLAs did not vote in its favour, suggesting that there could have been more cross-voting from the Congress ranks.
NCP has been urging the Congress to form an alliance for the year-end Gujarat assembly elections, a proposal that was given a cold shoulder by the latter. An upset NCP had then announced contesting the assembly polls in alliance with the JD(U).
As of now, the NCP has decided to stay away from any joint opposition initiative and may consider its alliance options at a later date.