The party's highest tally in the state was three in 2007. In the outgoing assembly, it has only two MLAs.
Mumbai: The NCP's decision to contest all seats in Gujarat on its own has once again sparked speculations regarding a hidden alliance with the BJP. The NCP has very limited presence in Gujarat; only eight to 10 seats. The party's highest tally in the state was three in 2007. In the outgoing assembly, it has only two MLAs. The party was demanding eight seats, including where the Congress has three sitting MLAs. After a breakdown in talks, Prafull Patel declared that his party would contest all the seats.
Despite various explanations from NCP leaders in the state, buzz about the party sharing an excellent equation with the BJP has never died down. On Monday, the party's senior leader who is looking after the Gujarat assembly's ongoing elections declared that his party would contest all seats and talks with the Congress had failed. Mr Patel also blamed the Congress for not accommodating like-minded parties while going to critical polls.
However, Congress sources denied NCP's version. A senior Congress leader on condition of anonymity said, "Why are they fighting for all seats? Despite contesting on their own, they are still contesting all seats, which means their intentions are not good."
Interestingly, the NCP decision comes after party chief Sharad Pawar recently praised Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi while slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government outright. This is also possibly why NCP workers are confused about the party's role in the Gujarat elections. A senior NCP leader who had handled affairs in Gujarat in the past said, "This time, everyone knows that BJP is in the danger zone. In that case, if our party is contesting alone without having actual power on the ground, it would then send the wrong signals.”