Mumbai: A full 10 years after it broke away from the Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra, the Samajwadi Party is keen to rebuild the partnership for the ensuing assembly elections, a top leader said Wednesday.
State Samajwadi Party (SP) president Abu Asim Azmi sought an alliance with the ruling front "to prevent communal forces" from coming to power in the assembly.
"The need of the hour is an alliance of all secular parties to keep the communal forces at bay in Maharashtra. To ensure there is no division of the secular votes, I propose an alliance with the Congress-NCP (Nationalist Congress Party)," Azmi told media persons.
He said the SP was prepared for a practical seat-share arrangement all over the state which could be mutually beneficial for the secular forces.
The SP was a partner in the state government between 1999-2004, but later broke off following certain political differences.
Azmi said the Congress committed "a grave error" by rejecting an alliance with Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party in the last Lok Sabha elections.
"Paswan later joined the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) alliance... Such a situation must be prevented in the upcoming state assembly elections," he cautioned.
Criticising the anointment of Gujarat leader Amit Shah as the new BJP president, Azmi accused him of sowing hatred in Uttar Pradesh prior to the general elections.
He urged the state government to be prepared as these people could attempt to communalise the atmosphere and resort to violence for political gains.
The state SP chief also lashed out at the warring Thackeray cousins -- Uddhav and Raj -- saying they were leaders of weakened parties and hence aspired to become chief minister of the state.
The Congress-NCP alliance is ruling the state since 15 years and is hoping to capture power for the fourth consecutive term -- but faces a stiff challenge from the opposition saffron "Grand Alliance".