No order to back BJP, says Pawar

Pune, Dec 30 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 12/30/2018 12:00:02 PM IST

Categorically denying that there was any directive from the party brass to back the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Ahmednagar civic body, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday said the Ahmednagar incident would not impact the Congress-NCP alliance in the general election.

Speaking to reporters in Ahmednagar,  Pawar admonished the 18 NCP corporators who voted for the BJP in the Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation (AMC), while stating that their actions would be investigated within the next five days.
“After I have made our party’s stance clear about not allying with the BJP, it escapes me how they [NCP corporators] disobeyed my orders and took the step to tie up with the saffron party,” said Pawar, who hinted that even the NCP’s MLAs in Ahmednagar could be questioned over the embarrassing affair.
“Even after the party State President [Jayant Patil] had given explicit instructions to the corporators not to vote for the BJP, they flouted the order …this is a very serious affair and it merits a stern investigation,” the NCP chief said. He said written explanations had been sought from the errant NCP corporators asking them to justify their action which was a clear violation of the party line.
“It is surprising that despite the Sena winning the maximum seats and the NCP emerging second in the AMC poll, the civic body now has a Mayor and Deputy Mayor from the BJP,” he remarked.
He, however, refused to say what penalty would be meted out to the rebel corporators, stating, “The Ahmednagar incident will not have any impact on the Congress-NCP alliance at the Centre and the State.”
Targeting the policies of the Narendra Modi government,  Pawar reiterated the need for the Opposition parties to come together to defeat the BJP. At the same time, he again refused to comment on who would lead the mega-coalition against the BJP.
In keeping with their aim of toppling the BJP government at the Centre and the State, the Congress and the NCP had jointly contested the recently concluded Dhule and Ahmednagar civic polls.
The Sena, which won 24 seats, emerged as the largest party while the NCP secured 18, the BJP 14 and the Congress five seats respectively.
Yet, in a startling twist, the NCP supported the BJP in the mayoral elections held on December 28, which led to a BJP Mayor and Deputy Mayor being elected in the 68-member AMC.
The political flip-flop by NCP corporators left the party top brass red-faced, while reviving the mistrust and mutual suspicion that led to the break-up of the Congress-NCP alliance prior to the 2014 general elections.


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