Not surprised by BJP-Sena’s coming together: Pawar

Mumbai: The electoral understanding between them was a forgone conclusion and it is not surprising said NCP president Sharad Pawar today.

“There is nothing new in their announcement of fighting polls together,” Pawar said.

The BJP and the Uddhav Thackeray-led party yesterday announced to contest the ensuing Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections together.

Referring to frequent squabbles between Sena and BJP, Pawar said, “It is just that they had been vocal against each other only in the last few years, but they were expected to contest jointly.”

As per their electoral pact, the BJP will contest 25 seats and Shiv Sena 23 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra. The two parties will contest an equal number of seats, after allotting allies their due share of segments, in polls for the 288-member state Assembly, due this year.

Speaking about the pre-poll understanding between the NCP and the Congress, Pawar said they are yet to arrive at consensus on one or two seats. However, he did not name the seats concerned. It is said that both the parties are trying to bring in like-minded parties like Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh of Prakash Ambedkar on board the proposed grand alliance.

NCP and the Congress will hold their first joint rally in Nanded tomorrow and AICC general secretary in-charge for Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge and senior leaders from both the parties will attend the rally. On 23 February, another joint rally of both the parties will be held in Beed in Marathwada.

“The Congress is willing to field a candidate from Ahmednagar seat. But the NCP is not relenting as it feels it enjoys more influence in the constituency (than Congress),” he further added.

According to sources, both the parties have finalised their candidates and talks with potential allies are underway.