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Parties get into frenetic pre-poll talks

india Updated: Mar 02, 2009 23:57 IST
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The buzz in political circles is just about picking momentum.

After its successful experiment of a Brahmin-Dalit alliance in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will now field prominent Brahmin builder from Pune, DS Kulkarni. Pune has over four lakh Brahmin votes.

In Mumbai, seat-sharing talks between the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party resumed late on Monday, hours after poll dates were announced.

Sources said the NCP-Congress impasse would continue with the states Congress leaders reluctant to part with 24 of the 48 seats the NCP is trying to wrangle in Maharashtra.

However, Congress national spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said in New Delhi that an amicable solution would be found.

On the saffron front, Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi's statement that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had caused his defeat in the last Lok

Sabha polls have fuelled speculation that the rift between the parties could only widen.

"I had invited Modi to campaign in my constituency to consolidate Hindu votes. But it backfired as Sena's traditional Muslim voters in Dharavi decided not to vote for me. We lost around 40,000 votes and I lost by a narrow margin," Joshi told a news channel in Mumbai.

BJP General Secretary Gopinath Munde said that the saffron alliance would stay and the seat-sharing process would be completed in 10 or 12 days.

In Pune, Kulkarni who is close to Hindu ideology and was actively involved in the Brahmin convention held there recently, said the BSP would announce his name on Tuesday.

Political observers said Kulkarni's candidature would dent the BJP's vote base. The Congress too will suffer with its traditional Dalit vote bank swinging towards the BSP for its UP pattern.

BJP spokesperson Ujjwal Keskar, however, said Kulkarni could in fact upset only the Congress' applecart in Pune.

Sources in the BSP said the party wanted senior BJP leader and ex-MP Anna Joshi to contest. But he rejected the offer as he expects a BJP ticket.

Congress' high profile sitting MP Suresh Kalmadi and retired bureaucrat Arun Bhatia will make the fight more interesting.