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Assembly polls: NCP wants 12 seats in city; Congress non-committal

Such a demand is likely to lead to sparring over seat sharing with the Congress, which usually contests majority of the 36 Assembly seats in the city.

mumbai Updated: Jun 14, 2019 08:09 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
NCP,Congress,Assembly polls
To prepare for the upcoming state Assembly elections scheduled in October, Pawar has begun holding district-wise meetings of the senior leaders and office-bearers of the party.(Kunal Patil/HTFile Photo)

Days after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar asked party cadre to focus on urban areas, the Mumbai unit of the party has demanded more seats to contest from the city in the upcoming state Assembly polls.

Such a demand is likely to lead to sparring over seat sharing with the Congress, which usually contests majority of the 36 Assembly seats in the city. The demand was raised in a meeting held by Pawar on Thursday. NCP Mumbai chief Sachin Ahir said they should either get equal number of seats or at least 12 seats for the Assembly polls in Mumbai. This may create differences between the alliance partners as NCP had contested on only seven seats in the 2009 Assembly polls. In 2014, both the parties had contested the polls on their own.

The Congress called it an “internal matter” of the the NCP. Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “Both the parties (Congress and NCP) are yet to officially discuss on seat-sharing formula for the Assembly polls. Whatever is being said is the internal matter of the NCP.”

To prepare for the upcoming state Assembly elections scheduled in October, Pawar has begun holding district-wise meetings of the senior leaders and office-bearers of the party. On Thursday, he held meetings related to districts in Konkan region that include Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan.

“Ahir said the party should ask for 12 to 15 Assembly seats from Congress for this poll or two Assembly seats in each Lok Sabha constituency. These seats can be those where Congress got defeated at least twice. The idea is to stretch the party’s base rather than winning the seats,” said a senior NCP leader, who did not want to be named.

The seats that NCP is likely to ask include Byculla from Mumbai South, Sion-Koliwada from Mumbai South Central, Bandra East or Kalina from Mumbai North Central, Dindoshi from Mumbai North West and Dahisar from Mumbai North constituency, NCP leaders said.

“We are of the view that if both Congress and NCP are contesting in equal number of seats for polls in the state then the same formula should be applicable for Mumbai as well. If not, NCP should be given 12 seats in Mumbai,” Ahir told HT.

However, a senior Congress leader said there is no point in asking for more seats if one does not have potential candidates. “We can see how BJP and Shiv Sena have contested polls together and the results are there for everyone to see. Both the opposition parties should take a cue from them (BJP-Sena) and work in tandem,” the leader said, wishing not to be named.

In Mumbai, the NCP is currently in an extremely weak position.

Despite contesting in 34 of the 36 Assembly seats in Mumbai, the party failed to win a single seat in the 2014 Assembly elections. In the 2009 polls, the party had won three seats — Anushakti Nagar, Kurla and Worli.

First Published: Jun 14, 2019 05:10 IST

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