Congress may fight 140 seats in Maharashtra Assembly polls

The Congress had earlier announced it would contest 125 seats. The NCP is expected to contest 125 seats, while its smaller allies could get to contest 17-18 seats. However, announcement of a final seat-sharing agreement could not be made on Wednesday.
Congress, NCP and a few smaller parties may opt for “friendly fights” in seven to eight constituencies across the state.(AP Photo)
Congress, NCP and a few smaller parties may opt for “friendly fights” in seven to eight constituencies across the state.(AP Photo)
Updated on Oct 03, 2019 07:32 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | BySurendra P Gangan

The Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and a few smaller parties may opt for “friendly fights” in seven to eight constituencies across the state, with the Congress likely to contest more than 140 seats in the upcoming Assembly elections.

Earlier, the Congress had announced it would contest 125 seats. The NCP is expected to contest 125 seats, while its smaller allies could get to contest 17-18 seats. However, announcement of a final seat-sharing agreement could not be made on Wednesday.

Negotiations with Swabhimani Paksha and Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) went on till late on Wednesday, which delayed the announcement of a grand alliance. “We have been holding meetings with Swabhimani Sanghatana and PWP leaders and expect to resolve the issue by late night.

There are no differences between Congress and NCP over the sharing of seats,” said former CM Prithviraj Chavan. While Congress and NCP could convince the Samajwadi Party (SP) to come on board by conceding three seats, Left parties have decided to contest on their own.

The parties had to concede to the demand of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) of contesting some seats in a “friendly fight”.

“Our talks with Congress-NCP led to no conclusion. We have now decided to field 15 candidates and will have a friendly fight,” Subhash Lande, CPI leader, said.

“Our alliance with the PWP and CPI and CPI(M) will be in a friendly manner in some of the constituencies. The PWP and Left parties are of the opinion that the Congress candidates in the fray help them in bagging more votes by splitting the saffron votes. Dindori and Kalwan in Nashik; Uran and Panvel are seats where smaller parties want the Congress to field its candidates.

SP, too, is likely to field its candidate from Byculla, where Madhukar Chavan is likely to be fielded by the Congress,” said a Congress leader. “We have arrived at a consensus on 29 seats for smaller parties in the alliance. Talks over the remaining ten seats will be concluded by tomorrow afternoon, ” said Jayant Patil, PWP.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said that they were hopeful about a consensus over seat-sharing with alliance partners.

The differences over seat sharing led to the cancellation of a joint press conference convened to announce the grand alliance. However, SP announced its joining the alliance a day after slamming Congress for not conceding to its demand. SP had announced to contest more than 40 seats on Tuesday after Congress denied to concede Bhiwandi East constituency. On Wednesday, Congress leaders admitted to conceding the seat, along with Shivaji Nagar and Aurangabad East.

Abu Azmi said his party has agreed to three seats as they want to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has been dividing the country in the name of religion. Besides SP; Shetkari Sanghatana, PWP, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, People’s Republic Party too have joined the alliance.

With the smaller allies having been given fewer seats, the Congress is expected to field more than 140 seats. “Our leader Ajit Pawar has already told the Congress that the seats remaining from the quota ascertained for smaller parties could be contested by the Congress,” said a NCP leader. Congress and NCP had decided to contest 125 seats each and share 38 seats with the smaller parties.

Leaders from both the parties also expect a few leaders from the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena to join them after being denied tickets.

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Monday, December 06, 2021