NCP waits for decision on Maharashtra Congress prez to start seat-sharing talks
The leadership vacuum in the Congress has delayed not only its organisational revamp in Maharashtra but also impacted alliance talks with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congresss Party (NCP).
With just three months left for the assembly polls, the NCP has conveyed to the Congress to make immediate changes in the state unit to enable seat-sharing talks.
Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan stepped down from his post recently, taking moral responsibility for the party’s rout in the state in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls.
While the Congress managed to secure just one seat, the NCP won four of the total 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state. On the other hand, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party won 23 seats and its alliance partner, Shiv Sena, bagged 18.
A senior NCP leader said formal seat-sharing talks will commence once the Congress names its new state president.
Former state minister and veteran leader Balasaheb Thorat has emerged as the front-runner for the post. Thorat was recently named the Congress legislature party (CLP) leader following the resignation of Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil. There will also be four working presidents for different regions, including Vidarbha, Marathwada and Konkan, to assist the new state chief. Some of the names doing the rounds are Nana Patole and Nitin Raut.
“As of now, we don’t know who to talk to in the Maharashtra Congress,” another NCP functionary said.
The Congress and NCP contested the 2014 assembly polls separately after sharing power for 15 consecutive years in Maharashtra. The alliance had come apart after disagreement over seat-sharing. The Congress bagged 42 of the 288 assembly seats while the NCP won 41 as compared to the BJP’s 122. The Shiv Sena, which also fought separately, secured 63 seats.
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