While talks between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for an alliance dragged on, the Congress has started preparing its own list of candidates for the Assembly elections.
The Congress is expected to contest 174 seats and the NCP the remaining 114. The pact is likely to be announced on Monday.
In the final stages of their talks, the two parties were negotiating some seats in Mumbai and Pune.
While the NCP was unwilling to vacate Shivajinagar and Kothrud seats in Pune for the Congress, in Mumbai, it wanted the partner to give up Mankhurd-Shivajinagar, Anushakti Nagar, Worli and Kalina.
The Congress has offered other seats to the NCP in lieu of these segments.
A top leader in the Congress, requesting anonymity, said the party’s Central Election Committee has finalised around 145 candidates, including several sitting ministers and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs). A final decision on the remaining seats will be taken before the closing of nomination.
The leader added that the Congress would delay announcing the candidates because it doesn’t want to give any chance to the rebels.
“Since the Sena-BJP has started declaring their candidates, it makes some sense for us to wait for a while before declaring our (candidates’) names.”
Meantime, NCP rebel and former MLA Dilip Sopal has decided to contest from Barshi (Marathwada) against the Congress candidate.
Sitting MLA Rajan Raut, who quit the Sena to join the Congress last week, will be the party’s official candidate.