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Vilas to lead seat-sharing talks

Former state chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde will play vital roles in the Lok Sabha poll seat-sharing talks that the Congress will initiate with the Nationalist Congress Party for Maharashtra’s 48 segments, reports Dharmendra Jore.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2009 01:12 IST
Dharmendra Jore

Former state chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde will play vital roles in the Lok Sabha poll seat-sharing talks that the Congress will initiate with the Nationalist Congress Party for Maharashtra’s 48 segments.

The party relies heavily on the experience of Deshmukh and Shinde for negating the NCP’s demand for equal seats. The NCP has cited its enhanced elective merit across the state after emerging as the single largest legislative party in the 2004 Assembly polls.

It will be the first vital assignment for out-of-favour Deshmukh who was asked to quit following the 26/11 terror attacks.

Union Power Minister Shinde, incumbent CM Ashok Chavan, state Congress chief Manikrao Thakare, Mumbai Congress president Kripashankar Singh and party’s campaign chief Gurudas Kamat are also on the panel.

Party spokesperson Anant Gadgil said the panel would meet in Mumbai on Tuesday. However, a day earlier, Chavan left for New Delhi to seek the high command’s instructions. A source close to Chavan said that being the leader of the legislative party, Chavan wanted a veto power.

“His (Chavan’s) insecurity stems from the fact that he is junior to all others in the committee that will also influence party’s ticket distribution for Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.”

Matters may complicate for Chavan as relations between him and Deshmukh have soured over an issue concerning their respective districts. And with every committee member being friends with Deshmukh, Chavan has reason to feel alienated.