NCP escalates demand, tie-up with Cong yet to be finalised
Even as the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) firmed up a pre-poll alliance for the Mumbai civic polls after hectic negotiations, the two parties are yet to finalise the seat-sharing agreement for the coming assembly elections in Goa. Aurangzeb Naqshbandi reports.delhi Updated: Jan 11, 2012 23:59 IST
Even as the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) firmed up a pre-poll alliance for the Mumbai civic polls after hectic negotiations, the two parties are yet to finalise the seat-sharing agreement for the coming assembly elections in Goa.
Congress sources said the numbers game was holding up the pre-poll tie-up between the two ruling coalition partners in the state. The NCP has escalated its demand from the six seats it contested in the 2007 elections.
Initially, Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar’s party had sought 12 seats this time but later came down to eight when it saw the Congress unwilling to concede the demand.
Though the Congress is keen on repeating the 2007 formula, it might at the most allot one additional seat to the NCP as a conciliatory step. However, the party’s central leadership is confident that the two will thrash out the differences and jointly fight the elections.
“Talks with the NCP are going on in the right direction. We will soon finalise the seat-sharing agreement,” said Jagmeet Singh Brar, who is the Congress functionary in charge of Goa affairs.
This time, there are differences over the choice of seats as well. Apprehending a strong anti-incumbency factor, the NCP has demanded “some safe seats”. But the Congress leadership is not ready to effect any change in the apportionment of constituencies and will stick to the 2007 agreement in this case as well. The election to the 40-member Goa assembly will be held on March 3 and the counting of votes will be taken up on March 6 along with UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Manipur.
While the Congress had 20 legislators in the outgoing assembly, the NCP had three and there were two members from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP). Goa Congress president Subhash Shirodkar said the party was in talks also with the MGP for a pre-poll alliance. But chances of an understanding between them appear dim, given that the pro-Maharashtra Goan party was exploring the possibilities of going with the BJP.