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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

For Cong-NCP, equal seats and opportunities

mumbai Updated: Sep 17, 2019 07:58 IST
Surendra P Gangan and Faisal Malik
Surendra P Gangan and Faisal Malik
Hindustantimes
         

The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have sealed the alliance deal for the state Assembly polls – 125 seats each, with the remaining 38 seats for smaller allies.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar and state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat announced the seat-sharing formula on Monday, while talking to the media in separate events. The formula was finalised after a number of meetings between the leaders from the state of both the parties over the past two months in Mumbai and a few meetings of top leaders from both sides in Delhi over the past two weeks. The Congress has, for the first time in two decades, conceded an equal number of seats to its ally. Barring the 2014 Assembly elections, both the parties have been fighting the state and national polls jointly, since the formation of the NCP in 1999.

Pawar said that like-minded parties, including the Peasants and Workers Party, Jogendra Kawade-led People’s Republican Party, Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Paksha, will join the Democratic Front for the Assembly polls slated to be held next month. “The NCP and Congress have finalised the seat-sharing, while the talks with smaller allies are on. There will be an exchange of a few seats between us for better prospects. We have also decided to give an opportunity to new faces,” he said. Pawar said the parties will hold joint rallies in Mumbai, Nashik and Nagpur once the elections are announced.

Thorat said, “The sharing of seats to smaller parties has not been finalised, but they will be considered as from the quota of two parties. Like PWP is the NCP’s ally and it will have to decide on the number of seats. We have amicably decided on the seat-sharing keeping the elective merit as a major parameter. Besides the sitting MLAs, the decision for the remaining seats were taken depending on the vote share in the last election. We will go for exchange of 4-5 seats, where we see better prospects for the other party, although its candidate fared poorly,” he said.

Thorat said the Congress is in the process of finalising the candidates. “Most of the candidates have been finalised after rounds of meeting of screening committee headed by Jyotiraditya Scindia and a meeting with Soniaji,” he said. “We have finalised candidates for more than half the seats.” The Congress and NCP had contested the 2014 Assembly polls separately and ended up winning 42 and 41 seats, respectively. In 2009, the Congress had contested 170 seats, while the NCP fielded candidates in 113 constituencies. In 2004, the parties contested 157 and 124 candidates, respectively.

First Published: Sep 16, 2019 23:46 IST

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