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Cong, NCP to fight polls together

Cong, NCP to fight polls together
Highlights

Cong, NCP to fight polls together, The Congress and the NCP will contest the Maharashtra Assembly polls together, slated for later this year.

Congress and the NCP will fight together in Maharashtra. I had a meeting with Congress President on Wednesday — Sharad Pawar

New Delhi: The Congress and the NCP will contest the Maharashtra Assembly polls together, slated for later this year. This was made known, after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar on Wednesday called on Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

While the NCP is demanding equal seat-sharing, on 50:50 basis, the Congress is unlikely to concede that demand. The NCP has been demanding increasing the number of seats to be contested by the party from 114 to 144, which works out to 50 per cent of the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly and seeks to equal.

At the time of sealing the seat-sharing pact, the NCP may get around 125 Assembly seats against the 163 of the Congress. In 2009, the Congress had contested 174 seats and the NCP 114 seats. However, in the wake of the Lok Sabha elections, where the NCP tally was higher than that of the Congress, the NCP raised its demand to 144 Assembly seats, even threatening to walk out of the alliance if it was not conceded. The result of breakup of the Congress-NCP alliance would be division in the secular vote and a cakewalk for the saffron combine of BJP-Shiv Sena, the NCP was told.

Pawar's meeting with Sonia Gandhi comes days after the Maharashtra PCC leadership termed NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar's demand for 144 seats – of the total of 288 seats – to contest in the polls as “unjustified”. Ajit Pawar had citied his party's improved performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as justification for increase of their quota.

The Congress won two seats in the recently-held Lok Sabha in Maharashtra, while the NCP got four Lok Sabha seats. “There is no question of Congress giving equal share (of seats) to NCP. There is no justification for this demand," state unit Congress president Manikrao Thakre told party workers at a rally in Nagpur. State Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan also spoke on the occasion.

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