Chavan said that he would personally ask the NCP leadership to give the said seat to the Congress.
Mumbai: At a time when the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are yet to begin alliance talks at the seat level, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress chief Ashok Chavan has declared a Congress candidate of the Jat Assembly constituency from Sangli. Interestingly, Mr Chavan has declared a Congress candidate from one of the Assembly seats in NCP state chief Jayant Patil’s district. Mr Chavan said that he would personally ask the NCP leadership to give the said seat to the Congress.
Addressing the Jan Sangharsha rally in the Jat Assembly constituency, Sangli, Mr Chavan said, “Vikram Sawant will be our candidate from the Jat Assembly constituency in the coming elections. He garnered 55,000 votes during the 2014 Assembly elections. Now, the NCP will join hands with us.
At a time when the Congress and NCP have not even started talks over seat sharing in the coming elections in Maharashtra, Mr Chavan’s directly dec-laring the seat without tal-king to the NCP will be vie-wed as Congress’ aggression.
Mr Chavan said, “I will talk to the NCP leadership. I am confident that they will agree to this anno-uncement. During the last election, the Congress candidate garnered more vot-es than the NCP. So, it is our rightful claim to this seat.”
Meanwhile, the NCP has not reacted to the annou-ncement. “Jat is a seat where the Congress had received more votes than the NCP. So, Congress will obviously have the claim. To energise his workers at the ground level, Mr Chavan might have declared candidature. I don’t think our leadership will take it in the wrong way,” said a former minister and senior leader of the NCP.
The infighting among Congress leaders in Sangli came out in the open during the party’s Jan Sangharsha Yatra. In the course of their respective speeches, Vidhal Patil, great grandson of former chief minister Vasantdada Patil and MLA Vishvajeet Kadam taunted each other. They tried to blame each other for the recent Sangli municipality defeat. Either claimed that the other’s group betrayed the party during elections. Sources said that Mr Chavan later gave a dressing down to both leaders for putting on a rather public show of their differences. On the state itself, former minister Harshwardhan Patil asked both the leaders to settle scores in private or quit the party. “Those who want to quit the party are free to do so,” said Mr Patil.