NCP was founded in May 1999 by Sharad Pawar, Tariq Anwar and PA. Sangma. The trio were expelled from the Congress for protesting against the leadership of Sonia Gandhi on the pretext that she was a foreigner. They split the party but damage was mostly confined to Maharashtra where Pawar had a strong hold as he was 3 times Chief Minister of the state.
Within four months of forming the party (Oct. 1999), NCP was forced to form an alliance with Congress to form a govt. in Maharashtra. The whole pretext on which the party was built was sacrificed. Both Congress and NCP had no qualms about it for the sake of POWER. The alliance has been ruling the state since then. Such has been the surrender of NCP to Congress that even when NCP won more seats than Congress in 2004 state elections, NCP agreed for a Congress CM.
Pawar saheb joined the UPA govt. at the center in 2004 and has been the Agriculture Minister since then. The question as to why NCP has not merged with the Congress still baffles me. How come saheb’s animosity towards foreigner Sonia turned into friendship. Anybody has a clue? Forming NCP could be one of the biggest blunders of Pawar. He will rue it over his lifetime. He could have been the PM had he stuck with Congress or if not PM, 2nd lead in command.
The party also has small presence in Goa, North East and is among the six national parties in India. It is controlled by the Pawar family and the tussle to become his heir apparent has already started between Ajit Pawar (saheb’s nephew) and Supriya Sule (saheb’s daughter). It currently has 9 seats in Lok Sabha. Saheb has declared that he is not going to contest 2014 elections and has won a Rajya Sabha seat recently.
Historical Performance in Maharashtra (Lok Sabha)
|% of Maharashtra Seats||12.5%||18.8%||16.7%|
Party has historically bagged ~15% seats in Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra in alliance with Congress.
Possibilities for NCP in 2014
Polls have predicted that NCP will suffer badly in elections because of strong anti-incumbency against its partner Congress. Polls give anything between 5-10 seats. Politicalbaaba projects 6 seats for NCP.
Recent overtures of Pawar towards Modi suggest that he could support a BJP led govt. at the center if it falls short of majority and is in need of allies.
If Third Front forms govt. it would support it and bargain for some key ministries. Anything for power.