Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has denied the claims made by Raj Thackeray that the former had a hand in BJP and Shiv Sena parting ways.
Speaking at a campaign rally on Thursday, MNS chief had said that Pawar had conveyed to the BJP leaders that the NCP will also break ties with Congress if they break their alliance with Sena. On September 26, NCP had announced it’s decision to break the alliance within an hour of BJP making the decision of the split with Sena public.
Addressing the media in Pune on Friday, Pawar denied this charge.
“I played no role whatsoever in Sena-BJP breakup. I must thank Raj Thackeray for portraying me as a leader who can influence the decisions of a rival national party. We announced our decision to break the alliance with Congress on the same day because there wasn’t much time left.
With only 24 hours to go for the nomination filing deadline, we had to announce our decision so that we could file nominations for all assembly constituencies,” said Pawar. Pawar said he did not anticipate that the NCP would be forced to take the extreme step, as Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and several other senior Congress leaders were “extremely positive” about continuing the Cong-NCP alliance in Maharashtra.
“When I met Sonia Gandhi, she was extremely positive about the continuation of the alliance in the state. Several other senior leaders also shared her feelings. We also had several rounds of the meetings with the national leaders and the state leaders. “However, while these talks were on, we learnt that the Congress had announced a list of 110 candidates which also contained names of constituencies which we had demanded for NCP. This showed their intentions. So we did not have any other option than to fight alone,” said Pawar. He said that NCP had prepared to contest only 130-135 seats and hence had to do a lot of running around at the eleventh hour to finalise candidates in all constituencies.