Congress and NCP on Thursday continued negotiation to evolve a consensus over certain seats on which both of them have staked claim as the two ruling coalition partners appeared close to clinching a seat-sharing pact for the October 13 Assembly elections in Maharashtra.
The venue of the closed door deliberations, which began on September 15, was today shifted from Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's official residence in south Mumbai to Deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal's bungalow nearby.
Sources said the meeting began this after noon after both parties had agreed to a formula, according to which, Congress would contest 174 and NCP 114 seats out of the total 288. In 2004, Congress and NCP had contested in 164 and 124 seats respectively.
The sources said the contentious seats include those in western Maharashtra where independent, and rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, who had defeated NCP candidates in the last elections, were expected to be fielded by the Congress.
Three Shiv Sena MLAs, considered close to Congress leader Narayan Rane, had recently joined the party.
Among other seats, Senior NCP leader and Labour Minister Nawab Malik has claimed the newly carved Kalina seat in Mumbai, a segment also being eyed by Mumbai Congress President Kripashankar Singh.
The Congress Screening Committee meeting, which was scheduled to be held in Delhi later today, has been postponed as the seat-sharing deliberations were still on.