Congress-NCP seat-sharing talks progress | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Congress-NCP seat-sharing talks progress

Seat-sharing talks between the Congress and its ally Nationalist Congress Party progressed but the pact could not be sealed because they failed to agree on 20 to 30 seats, reports Dharmendra Jore.

mumbai Updated: Sep 17, 2009 01:29 IST
Dharmendra Jore

Seat-sharing talks between the Congress and its ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) progressed on Wednesday but the pact could not be sealed because they failed to agree on 20 to 30 seats.

Leaders from both sides decided to refer the decision on contentious seats to their bosses in New Delhi.

Though both the parties agreed on most of the 200-odd seats, there were disputes over seats in Mumbai, western Maharashtra and some other parts of the state.

The NCP, for instance, staked its claim on Kalina constituency where city Congress president Kripashankar Singh is planning to contest from. The Congress offered it the Shivajinagar-Mankhurd constituency in north-east Mumbai instead.

Union Heavy Industries Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told the media that a final decision was likely to be announced in New Delhi on Thursday. He said that the talks at the state level had nearly concluded.

The day saw a series of meetings after talks were initiated on Tuesday night. Senior Congress and NCP leaders held two rounds of talks on Wednesday at Varsha, the official residence of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan at Malabar Hill.

They parted ways in the afternoon and came back late in the evening for negotiating the seats both parties want to contest from.

These seats were from Mumbai and western Maharashtra where Congress wants to field more candidates. The seats in question include Goregaon and Kalina in Mumbai, Shrivardhan, Chiplun and Devgad in Konkan, Indapur in Pune, two seats currently held by Independents who have joined the Congress and three held by Shiv Sena MLAs who quit their party to join Congress minister Narayan Rane.

A senior Congress leader, requesting anonymity, said that the party top brass has approved of certain parameters for seat sharing.

“One such parameter is that we should not let the NCP get more that 115 seats of the total of 288. The high command wants us to make NCP exchange seats where new Congress entrants including independents will be fielded. NCP had finished second on these seats in the last assembly polls.”

The NCP contested 124 seats and the Congress 164 in the 2004 polls.

The leaders are expected to sort out issues amicably and refer critical cases to their respective bosses in Delhi.