Ahmedabad: The much-publicised seat sharing agreement between Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for upcoming state assembly elections seems to have come to a naught.
Congress had allocated nine seats out of 182 to NCP, while keeping 173 seats for itself. However, following some strange turn of events, NCP is contesting alone on five seats, while it has fielded candidates on seven other seats, including three in Ahmedabad.
“Congress has violated the agreement by fielding candidates from Limbayat, Akota and Shehra, which were allocated to us,” said Dr Jagdishchandra Dafda, general secretary and spokesperson of NCP state unit.
As a result, the two parties, which also have an alliance at the Centre, are contesting against one another on as many as seven seats. Dafda conceded that division of secular votes would benefit Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Umreth, Devgadhbaria, Visnagar, Gondal and Kutiyana are the five seats, where NCP is contesting and Congress has not fielded any candidate from these constituencies.
Akota seat in Vadodara was also allocated to NCP. Congress, however, fielded a candidate from the seat, while nomination of NCP nominee was rejected due to technical reasons. Both parties have put up candidates in Bapunagar, Nikol, Vatva, Balasinor, Limbayat, Vav and Shehra.
President of NCP state unit, Jayant Patel has accused Congress of playing dirty tricks. He said that there is an alliance between the two parties, but added that decision regarding its continuation would be taken by NCP’s central leadership.
Congress, on their part, claimed that seats being claimed by its junior alliance partner were never allocated to it.
“The Limbayat seat, for one, was never allocated to NCP. There was no agreement, but NCP was claiming the seat on its own. This is why we also put up our candidate from the seat,” said Rizwan Usmani, general secretary of Gujarat Congress and member of All India Congress Committee (AICC).
Congress has fielded former councilor Suresh Sonavane from Limbayat, which is dominated by Muslim and Maharashtrian voters. He will take on BJP nominee Sangita Patil, while NCP has nominated actor Zamir Khan.