MUMBAI: Even as the Congress is trying to persuade him to join an anti-BJP coalition, Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar said Thursday that he had announced candidates for 12 Lok Sabha seats, which were "non- negotiable".
The Congress and NCP have said they are ready to give four seats to Ambedkar, leader of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM).
However, Ambedkar told PTI that he has announced candidates for Buldhana, Nanded, Yavatmal, Madha, Amravati, Latur, Satara, Sangli, Baramati, Pune, Hathkanagale and Nashik.
These seats were "non-negotiable", he said.
Interestingly, the Dalit leader, grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar, has not announced his own candidature from Akola, a Lok Sabha seat he had earlier represented.
Sources said that Congress and NCP were trying hard to woo Ambedkar and put the announcement of the details of their (NCP-Congress) seat-sharing on hold so as to accommodate him.
State Congress president Ashok Chavan told PTI that Ambedkar has been offered four seats against his demand of 12.
NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said the Congress-NCP may leave eight seats for smaller allies.
"The seat-sharing formula would be announced only after all the other allies are on board. As far as Congress-NCP are concerned, the two parties are expected to contest equal number of seats. Both of us are demanding swapping of Raver and Aurangabad. Raver is in NCP quota while Aurangabad is in Congress quota. This issue will be resolved soon," he said.
But both the parties were tight-lipped on Ahmednagar, a seat which Sujay, son of Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and senior Congressman Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, is demanding.
The Congress is expected to begin the process of finalising its first list of candidates in Maharashtra next week.
Ashok Chavan, Vikhe Patil, and other senior Congress leaders including Prithviraj Chavan, Balasaheb Thorat, Vijay Waddetiwar and Manikrao Thakre held a marathon meeting for more than eight hours at an undisclosed location in the city Thursday, party sources said.
It was a follow-up of the meeting of the election committee of the state unit which met last month to discuss probable candidates, sources added.
A Congress leader said on the condition of anonymity that Prakash Ambedkar's approach while discussing a tie-up had not gone down well with the state Congress leadership.
"We agree there has to be a common minimum programme. But Ambedkar's insistence that Congress give an action plan in writing on how to curb parallel administration run by the RSS in the government is laughable," he said.
"Ambedkar's stand is not a sign that he is keen for an alliance," another party source said.
Ambedkar said that they wanted an action plan from the Congress about how "to bring the RSS in the Constitutional framework", and "if there is no discussion on this, we are not going with the Congress".