20 seats hold up Cong, NCP seat-sharing pact
The Congress and its alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday made some headway, but could not arrive at upon a final seat-sharing arrangement for over 20 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly. Alliance over the yearsindia Updated: Sep 17, 2009 00:37 IST
The Congress and its alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday made some headway, but could not arrive at upon a final seat-sharing arrangement for over 20 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly.
Maharashtra goes to the polls on October 13.
Leaders from both the sides decided to leave the decision on the contentious seats to their party bosses in New Delhi.
Though both the parties agreed on most seats, there were disputes over seats in Mumbai, western Maharashtra and some other parts of the state.
For instance, the NCP staked claim on North-West Mumbai’s Kalina constituency where city Congress president Kripashankar Singh is planning to contest. The Congress offered it the Shivajinagar-Mankhurd constituency instead.
Union Heavy Industries Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said the final arrangement was likely to be announced in New Delhi on Thursday. He also said that the talks at the state level were more or less over.
The day saw a series of meetings. After initiating the talks on Tuesday night, senior Congress and NCP leaders held two rounds of talks on Wednesday morning at Varsha, the official residence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
After taking a break in the afternoon, the two sides resumed the seat-sharing dialogue late on Wednesday evening to negotiate seats from Mumbai and western Maharashtra where both the parties wanted to contest.
A senior Congress leader, requesting anonymity, said the party brass had approved of certain parameters for the seat-sharing talks. “One such parameter is that we should not let the NCP get more than 115 seats. The high command wants us to make NCP exchange seats where new Congress entrants, including independents will be fielded. The NCP had finished second on these seats in the last assembly polls.”
In 2004, the NCP had contested 124 seats and the Congress 164.