Cong-NCP deal done, not everyone’s happy
Though Mumbai and Thane took the longest to negotiate most of the state’s 288 Assembly seats have finally been divided up between the Congress and NCP, who will now contest the polls together for the third time in a row. Dharmendra Jore reports. See Maha's poll profilemumbai Updated: Sep 18, 2009 02:23 IST
The pre-nuptial agreement is nearly done.
Though Mumbai and Thane took the longest to negotiate — and are not yet done — most of the state’s 288 Assembly seats have finally been divided up between the Congress and NCP, who will now contest the polls together for the third time in a row.
The NCP will contest from seven of Mumbai’s 36 seats and about 114 across the state — just the number the Congress had been aiming for, as Hindustan Times reported on Thursday.
The Congress is expected to get 174 seats, though the NCP has demanded six more in Mumbai and elsewhere. There is still some indecision over about 12 seats — some of them in the vital Thane-Mumbai belt, which will elect 60 legislators to the Assembly this time.
One of these seats is Kalina, where city Congress president Kripashankar Singh had been planning to stand. NCP minister Nawab Malik is keen on this segment too and this could be the biggest tussle left before the two parties.
As negotiations continued, a fuming Singh reportedly left the meeting midway for New Delhi, where he is expected to lobby hard with the high command to retain his seat.
“Kalina in Mumbai remains unresolved,” said state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre. Added a Congress source: “The decision on the remaining seats is likely to be taken by party bosses in Delhi by Saturday.”
The parties have reportedly agreed to split Thane’s 24 segments 50:50, though which seats will be contested by which party are still not clear in some cases.
Mumbai-Thane is even more significant for the Congress and NCP this time because they expect to benefit as Raj Thackeray’s MNS splits the Marathi vote, weakening the Shiv Sena.
The fate of about six Independents and three supporters of former Sena strongman Narayan Rane will also be decided in Delhi. In the saffron camp, meanwhile, the tussle continues.
A day after leaders from both the sides agreed that the Guhagar Assembly constituency would be given to the Sena, the BJP retracted and said it had not conceded the constituency. Party spokesperson Prakash Jawdekar said the final BJP list would be released in New Delhi on Saturday.