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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Congress wants to cut NCP to size in LS polls

Dharmendra Jore, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 25, 2013
First Published: 00:59 IST(25/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:01 IST(25/2/2013)

The Congress plans to cut its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party, to size when it comes to seat-sharing, in case the parties decide to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls together.

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In 2009, the Congress agreed to make do with 26 seats, of which it gave one away to the RPI's Ramdas Athawale. This was two short of its share in 2004. The NCP, however, retained its 21 seats despite conceding one seat to RPI's Rajendra Gavai.

The state Congress on Friday submitted its Lok Sabah poll review report to the party high command stating that the NCP's larger share was unjustified.

All India Congress Committee office-bearer Madhusudan Mistry, who worked with CM Prithviraj Chavan and state unit president Manikrao Thakre, will hand over the report to Rahul Gandhi.

The report states that Congress lost in eight constituencies because of infighting and NCP's lack of cooperation.

The Congress stands a good chance in Maharashtra, the report states, as the NCP is asking senior state ministers to contest for lack of better candidates.

In 2009, the Congress won 17 of 25 seats, while the NCP won eight (one less than in 2004) of 21. The BJP contested nine of 25, while Shiv Sena won 11 of 22.

Sources said the regions under contention would be Thane district, north Maharashtra and western Vidarbha.

The NCP has always been ahead of Congress in western Maharashtra, but in 2009, it won only three of seven seats, while Congress won all three seats contested.

At a recent rally in Mumbai, Thakre questioned the NCP's plan to go solo. "Last time, when we gave them more seats, their overall numbers reduced; Congress was the only party to increase its seats."

A Congress leader said: "The state Congress is under pressure to win maximum seats as states such as Andhra Pradesh are likely to deplete the numbers."

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