Mumbai, Jul 29: Confident that the Congress and the NCP will be able to sew up a “respectable” alliance for the upcoming Assembly polls in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today said the larger goal is not to split the secular votes to keep the communal parties at bay. He also sought to play down the “rebellion” within his government and hoped that senior Congress leader Narayan Rane, who recently resigned from his cabinet, will chose to “prioritise” the people of Maharashtra ahead of “personal ambitions”.

Chavan, who has been a Chief Minister for the last three and half years, hit out at Shiv Sena over one of its MPs trying to force feed a fasting Muslim, saying people of the state would have to chose whether they want to hand over the government to a party which “believed more in violence and intimidation than in democratic norms”.

Talking about pre-poll alliance, Chavan, an aerospace engineer-turned-politician in an interview to PTI said, “We have a seat sharing agreement in place. We will have it this time too, but it can be based only on mutual respect and cooperation”.
He said that in the end, both parties wish to work for Maharashtra, so there is no fundamental conflict.

“I am confident we will come to an agreement and fight the election together”. He stressed that the split of secular votes should be avoided. “The whole rationale of going in for an alliance by a secular party like Congress or a supporting party like NCP, is that when we fight against each other, we divide the secular vote and communal party benefits. The whole rationale is not to divide the secular vote”.