The seat sharing talks between the democratic front allies -- the Congress and the NCP -- for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will begin next week.
The first meeting is likely to take place on February one or two, Mumbai Congress President Kripashankar Singh told PTI in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Last night, a Congress core group, comprising Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre and Singh himself, met to finalise the nitty-gritty of the hard bargaining with the NCP in the coming weeks.
"We did our homework especially in the wake of delimitation of Lok Sabha constituencies and are ready for the seat sharing deliberations with the NCP. The Congress is of the view that secular votes should not be divided," he said.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar held a three-day marathon meeting with state unit leaders and office-bearers as part of the party's preparations for the coming elections.
The NCP has decided to demand two seats in Mumbai and one in Konkan region from the Congress, party sources said.
Replying to a question in this regard, Singh said even the Congress can demand more seats from the NCP quota. "But, the final decision would be taken after ascertaining all aspects to ensure that the Congress-NCP combine wins maximum number of Lok Sabha seats," he said.