The stalemate between the Democratic Front allies, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) over seat sharing for the Maharashtra Lok Sabha polls is likely to be resolved late on Tuesday night.
The delegations of the two parties met at Ramtek, the official residence of Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal. Sources said the Congress has shown willingness to concede one or two more seats to its ally. The deadlock between the parties was over seat sharing formula. The NCP had demanded a 50:50 sharing ratio.
Sources said that the Congress is likely to concede around 23 seats — two more than what it had agreed to in 2004. Maharashtra has 48 parliamentary constituencies.
The parties are likely to contest the elections together now. In the last few days, there had been speculation over the NCP opting to ally with the Sena, if Congress remained stubborn. This pressure tactic seemed to have worked. The final decision will be announced by the parties top brass in Delhi, said sources.
“We discussed constituency wise seat-sharing. On the whole, the attitude was positive and the alliance is likely to happen soon,” said a Congress functionary who was present at the meeting.
NCP is likely to contest one seat from Mumbai.
Meanwhile earlier in the day, Bhujbal visited ailing Sena chief Bal Thackeray at Lilavati Hospital, again fuelling speculations over a possible NCP-Sena tie up.
Bhujbal was accompanied by his son Pankaj and met Uddhav Thackeray besides inquiring into the patients’ health and chatting about respective campaign rallies. He said there was nothing political about this visit.
Bhujbal, Sena’s first high-profile rebel left the Sena in 1991 to join Congress and later NCP, when it was formed in 1999. Just last year, Bhujbal ended a 19 year-old enmity with the Thackeray family by dropping a defamation case against senior Thackeray.
However, since the public reunion, Bhujbal is being seen as someone who can be a bridge between the NCP and Sena.