NEW DELHI: Ahead of the announcement of Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the national capital to discuss a possible seat-sharing arrangement between the two parties.
The two parties are expected to contest the Assembly elections as a coalition and talks are being held over constituency-wise seat sharing. The Congress has insisted that both parties contest an equal number of seats and some are left for regional and the Left in the state.
According to party sources, Pawar spoke about broad seat-sharing arrangements between the two parties for elections expected to be held in October but discussions will continue for next few days before taking a final decision.
The alliance between NCP, Congress and regional parties holds importance to take on the BJP-Shiv Sena combine that managed to win 41 of 48 seats in Lok Sabha elections while the Congress managed only one and NCP four seats.
Leaders from the NCP and Congress have held several meetings in the last few weeks to prepare a seat-sharing arrangement keeping in mind regions where both parties have held and enjoy people’s support.
In July, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray met Sonia at her residence fuelling speculations of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena joining the alliance while Congress has flagged reservations about it.
Congress has seen some prominent party leaders leaving the party to join the BJP.
The Congress and NCP has witnessed desertions by senior leaders to the BJP and the Shiv Sena, which has dented the opposition alliance’s morale ahead of the elections.
‘Encounter cop’ to contest Assembly polls
Pradeep Sharma, known as the ‘encounter specialist’ cop will contest the Maharashtra Assembly polls from Nalasopara in Mumbai’s neighbouring Palghar district as the state government has accepted his resignation. Home department officials said that Sharma’s resignation has been accepted. Sharma, however, said he will speak about contesting only after receiving all the relevant documents. His close associates said he is all set to join the Shiv Sena and will be contesting from Nalasopara.
Poll ready: BJP identifies potential candidates
In the run up to the Assembly election in Maharashtra, the BJP has identified at least two potential candidates each from all the 288 constituencies of the state. “The list would be sent to the party’s central committee for finalising names of candidates,” state BJP president Chandrakant Patil said here after 7-hour-long meeting of the party’s core committee. “We expect that the polls would be held between October 15-20 and we have done all preparations according to that. We reviewed all the preparations at the meeting,” Patil said.
NCP MP Udayanraje Bhosale meets Fadnavis
NCP MP from Satara, Udayanraje Bhosale, met Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday, sources said. Bhosale, a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji, is likely to join the BJP