United they stand

In face of reports of rebellion in the ranks, Congress-NCP alliance plans to release a joint manifesto tomorrow and address a joint rally on Thursday

A spirit of togetherness seems to have disguised any semblance of infighting in the Congress-NCP alliance for the time being, at least for the benefit of the public eye.

With the larger objective of dethroning the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the combine that is in power at the state and centre will hold its first joint rally here on February 9 ahead of the civic polls.

To address the joint rally, which is likely to be held at Jamboree Maidan in Worli, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar will share the dais with senior Congress leaders, including Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and prominent members from the state and union cabinet.

In unison
A day prior to that, influential leaders of both parties will release a joint manifesto at YB Chavan centre near Mantralaya, Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh said on Monday.

Pitching it right: NCP chief Sharad Pawar is expected to share the stage
with senior Congress leaders, including CM Prithviraj Chavan, on Thursday
at the election rally. File Pic

The alliance has been keen to get a ground in Central Mumbai so that party workers and people from all parts of the city can attend, he said.

When asked about party rebels who are determined to contest against the official candidates, Singh said efforts were on to convince them so that they fall in line. According to sources, approximately 35 rebels from Congress and 4-5 from NCP have decided to remain in the fray, which threatens the prospects of official candidates of both parties.

Rebels with a cause
Meanwhile, according to preliminary figures, 2,233 candidates have remained in the fray for the 227 seats of BMC. Almost all prominent political outfits have been facing rebellion. Shiv Sena is facing defiance in nine wards. The party is contesting on 135 seats. Its alliance partner BJP is in contention for 63 seats but facing rebellion on five. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which is in the fray for 225 seats, faces a similar threat in four wards.

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