Prithviraj Chavan, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, said that the Congress is ready to go it alone in the upcoming assembly elections in the state. In a clear sign that Congress will not yield any ground to its partner in the state, Chavan said, “There will be no solution if NCP come with pre-conditions.”
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar took an aggressive stand against the Congress over the seat sharing in Maharashtra. He said on Monday that it was ready to hold talks with the alliance partner to hammer out a solution ahead of the October 15 Assembly elections.
A party core committee meeting was held at the residence of state NCP leader Sunil Tatkare, where the decision was taken.
After the meeting, senior leader Praful Patel talked to the reports and said the party would again hold a meeting with Congress leaders to end the stalemate over the seat-sharing agreement.
Patel said, “We will discuss the seat-sharing plan tomorrow (Tuesday) with senior Congress leaders. We wanted to meet them today (Monday) itself to resolve the issue. But since all the senior leaders are in Delhi, we will meet them tomorrow and try to come up with a solution.”
On Tuesday, senior NCP leaders Ajit Pawar, Praful Patel, Sunil Tatkare and Chhagan Bhujbal will be attending the meeting regarding same.
Patel repeated his party’s stand and clearly said that it disagrees with the Congress plan to give only 124 seats to NCP. NCP is buoyed by its performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and hence demanding 144 seats to contest the polls. Moreover, it has bettered its tally that the Congress by winning four seats in Maharashtra, the Grand Old Party could win only two seats in the state.
Patel said, “I, on behalf of my party, had clarified our stance earlier too. In 2004 elections, we had contested from 124 Assembly constituencies. These seats are already ours. We do not want any further discussion on this. We had made our demand sometime ago and therefore want the Congress to think positively on it.”
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, meanwhile, took a stock of the fast changing political equations in poll-bound Maharashtra.
NCP is rigid on its demand of 144 of the 288 Assembly seats. Congress insiders said that the situation could go either way.
However, Sonia reviewed the situation with her political advisor Ahmed Patel, state unit chief Manikrao Thakre, Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan and the veteran A K Antony among others. Both the parties are under pressure as seat sharing negotiations were narrowing, the sources acknowledged. September 27 is the last date for filling the nominations and thus the decision has to be taken quickly yet wisely.
A senior Congress leader said, “There is no rational for the NCP other that the fact that it won four and we got two in the Lok Sabha polls.” The Congress is not willing to offer beyond 125-130 seats for the NCP.