The alliance between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance is on the rocks, in Pune.
Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi and state minister Ajit Pawar of the NCP had been scrapping for some time. Their antipathy has boiled over into the open.
Just last weekend, they had met over dinner and their supporters thought they had buried the hatchet.
Their supporters got the message that all was well and got the direction that they should leave no stone unturned to canvass for the respective candidates finalised in seat-sharing.
However, NCP Pune unit President Jaidev Gaikwad and Anil Bhosale, the party leader in the civic body, have publicly accused the Congress of not canvassing in support of their candidates.
Both Gaikwad and Bhosale, in a statement, alleged that while NCP workers were sincerely taking part in campaigning for Congress candidates in the district, there has been no reciprocal gesture on part of the Congress. This statement could not have come without the consent of Ajit Pawar.
The NCP leaders issued a veiled warning to the Congress, saying if this non-cooperation continued in the district, the NCP would have to reconsider its support to Congress candidates.
The NCP leaders alleged that Congress workers were not attending campaign meetings being organised by them. “We are adhering to the alliance ethics and expect the same from our partner,” they said.
Meanwhile, Congress city unit president Abhay Chhajed refuted the NCP’s allegation as “false and unfortunate”. The Congress was campaigning for NCP candidates, he asserted.
The sabotage allegation is estimated to hit at least 150 constituencies out of a total of 288 going to the polls.