Pawar confident of ruling Maharashtra, Delhi not ruled out

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 28 September 1999 16:48 IST

The Nationalist Congress Party appears confident about coming to power in Maharashtra while also not ruling out the possibility of becoming part of the central government, minus the Bharatiya Janata Party as well as Sonia Gandhi as the Congress leader.

"We have decided to give strength to any proposal to form the government of secular groups", says its president Sharad Pawar, though he does not count the Congress into it, solely because of Mrs Gandhi's leadership which they do not agree with.

Pawar has been resting in Goa for the last three days along with his family as the dust of elections has subsided in Maharashtra. Besides meeting the local NCP leaders, he also made a trip to the Konkan region to meet his party colleagues there.

Pawar however does not like his statement being interpreted that he is not averse to joining hands with the Congress if Mrs Gandhi is not projected the party leader. "You remove her as the president, then we will start considering it", he says while also clarifying that the question of joining back the Congress does not arise.

"My statement was misinterpreted last time", he claims, referring to his visit to Goa last month. He says he has maintained his stand consistently regarding the Congress under the leadership of Mrs Gandhi.

While last stage of the elections is awaited, Pawar predicts a hung Parliament once again with the National Democratic Alliance emerging as the single largest group in the House. "The third alternative thus can be definitely thought over", he feels.

"We are happy that even the left front has changed its approach, now considering as a force to be reckoned with", says Pawar, though he declines to disclose anything further regarding the ongoing moves in this direction.

Flaying the exit polls and describing it as a 'new instrument of campaigning', the NCP leader claims that the Congress would not be able to cross figure of 150. "Besides Maharashtra, our group of allies would also get representation in Meghalaya, Assam, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh", he states.

"There are no two opinions. We will form the government in Maharashtra", claims the sugar lobby king, though he does not specify the exact number they would secure. "We will get enough number to form our own government", he adds.

Claiming that the exit polls and other opinion polls have never given correct picture, he recalls the last year's Lok Sabha figures of opinion poll where he was credited with 13 seats in Maharashtra but actually won 37. The polls this time has not given him more than 6 seats. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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