The NCP's seat-sharing with the Congress in Maharashtra could turn out to be a ticklish task with Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh contending that it should reflect the Lok Sabha election results in the state.
Deshmukh, a known detractor of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, also said it was a "settled rule" in Congress that it does not project a chief ministerial candidate in any Assembly election. Ashok Chavan is the Chief Minister, who succeeded Deshmukh late last year.
"The seat-sharing with the NCP should take into account the latest Lok Sabha results," Deshmukh said in an interview to PTI, hinting at the fact that the Congress was way ahead in electoral strength than Pawar's party.
In the last Lok Sabha elections, Congress had raised its tally to 17 seats while that of NCP had declined to eight, prompting demands from a section of the Congress, including Deshmukh, that the Congress should follow the Uttar Pradesh pattern in Maharashtra by going solo.
The seat-sharing in the last assembly polls was 166 for Congress and 122 to NCP in the 288-member House.
The senior Congress leader ruled out any truck with Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in the post-poll scenario, asserting that "ideologically we are poles apart".
At the same time, he underlined the need to take the RPI groups, which are in the unity mode, on board to avoid "division of secular votes".