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NCP-Cong future to be decided at dinner party?

Sources said Sharad Pawar would be meeting with JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, fuelling rumours the NCP would be splitting ties with the Congress and aligning with the Third Front

The rift between the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party just widened a bit more after reports surfaced that NCP supremo Sharad Pawar would be meeting Janta Dal (U) leader and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and CPM leader Sitaram Yechury on February 9, fuelling rumours that NCP will align with the Third Front for the upcoming elections.

Sources said the NCP was unhappy with Congress over the seat-sharing exercise. File pic
Sources said the NCP was unhappy with Congress over the seat-sharing exercise. File pic

Sources said that DP Tripathi, the NCP’s general secretary, will be hosting a dinner party on February 9 where Janata Dal (U) leader and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury and a few other prominent leaders have been invited. A source also added that an invitation had been sent out to the Samajwadi Party but it was unsure who would be attending the event.

When asked about the dinner meeting, newly appointed national spokesman of the party, Nawab Malik said, “We are trying our best to add new friends to the UPA alliance. We want to strengthen the alliance.” Additionally, Pawar, while at a meeting with his party ministers at Ramtek bungalow the official residence of PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal also added that the party was not interested in the alliance if the Congress offered them less seats during the elections. According to sources, the NCP is unhappy with the Congress over the seat-sharing exercise. Patel said Congress has delayed the seat-sharing talks for ‘far too long’ and the party was losing patience.

In fact, NCP leader Praful Patel hit out at the Congress for not giving them any clarity on seat sharing. Patel said that they are going to convey their displeasure to the chief minister and tell him that a decision needs to be made soon. “I have stated it very clearly. Congress has delayed seat alliance,” he said, adding, “Elections are around the corner and we need clarity on these issues. This (delay) is not a good sign. All options are open,” once again hinting at the end of the alliance between the two parties.

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