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Seat sharing done, almost

india Updated: Sep 18, 2009 01:31 IST
Dharmendra Jore

As was expected, Mumbai and Thane, which together send 60 legislators to the Maharashtra assembly, became a bone of contention between alliance partners Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

The parties resolved the issue a day ahead of nomination, almost.

NCP has got seven of Mumbai’s 36 seats but wants the Kalina constituency where City Congress president Kripashankar Singh is keen on contesting. Labour Minister Nawab Malik of the NCP is also eyeing the seat.

There is still a dispute over 10 to 12 such seats, some of them in the Mumbai-Thane belt, which has delayed the poll pact between the two parties.

“We’ve reached consensus on most seats. The decision on the rest could be taken in Delhi on Saturday,” said a Congress leader who was part of the talks.

Of the state’s 288 seats, the Congress is expected to get 174 and the NCP 114, although it has demanded six more.

The Mumbai-Thane belt is significant for the Congress as well as the NCP as both expect to benefit from the division of Marathi votes between the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.

State Congress chief Manikrao Thakare hinted that the two parties had reached an agreement in Thane. “But Kalina remains unresolved,” he said.

This left Kripashankar Singh fuming. Singh left the meeting midway and left for New Delhi where he’s expected to lobby hard for the seat.

All is not well in the saffron camp, too. A day after Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders reportedly decided on giving the Guhagar seat to the Sena, state BJP president Nitin Gadkari said a decision was still to be taken.

Party spokesperson Prakash Jawdekar said the BJP list will be released in Delhi on Saturday.

A senior leader told HT that the party plans to field Poonam Mahajan, daughter of late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, from Mumbai’s Ghatkopar West seat.