"Seat sharing with INC to be resolved in next 10 days. Talks are on in cordial manner," Pawar said on micro blogging site Twitter. "Praful Patel hasn't given any ultimatum to INC," the Maharashtra strongman added, referring to reports that Patel had asked the Congress to take a call within three days.
The NCP and the Congress have been sharing power in Maharashtra since 1999. Pawar's party has been a part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre for the past 10 years. It is the second largest constituent of the UPA. The coalition partners are trying to drive home a hard bargain on the seat-sharing issue. The NCP wants to contest 22 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra, while the Congress wants it to settle for 19. In an earlier tweet, Pawar said nation needed a stable government and the NCP's discussions with the Congress were on in a "friendly manner". Recently, reports of Pawar meeting Modi in Delhi had led to speculations over new political equations ahead of the upcoming general elections. The meeting, which is said to have lasted more than an hour and focused on post-poll political equations, reportedly took place about two weeks ago. Pawar had termed the reports "baseless". Patel, who claims the NCP has been urging the Congress for the past six months to settle the seat-sharing deal, however, had said the party had "other options". The Congress had downplayed Patel's warning. Interestingly, Patel had recently said the Supreme Court's clean chit to Modi in the cases related to the Gujarat riots should be respected.
With PTI inputs