Mumbai: The NCP today said that seat sharing talks with Congress as well as finalisation of candidates is expected to be completed by September 9.
Addressing a press conference, NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said even though his party is firm on its demand for more seats to contest out of the total 288, the final number will be decided by Sharad Pawar in consultation with the Congress leadership in Delhi.
Malik said even though there have been newspaper reports about Congress-NCP going solo for the Maharashtra Assembly polls, his party is firm that the alliance with Congress is very much there and both parties will fight the elections together.
He said 1,775 aspirants had rallied for tickets in 288 Assembly constituencies and the party had completed interviews of 1,740 aspirants.
To a question about senior party leaders quitting to join the BJP, Malik said the leaders who had deserted had been sidelined for quite some time.
“Suryakanta Patil who was minister in UPA-1 could not retain her Hingoli seat in 2009 Lok Sabha polls. She was seeking Legislative Council nomination which did not materialise. Similarly, former state NCP Chief Babanrao Pachpute had been dropped in the ministry reshuffle,” he said.
Malik said with these leaders quitting, there will be opportunity for new leadership to emerge.
In response to a query, he said Suryakanta Patil was not given Lok Sabha ticket from Hingoli because the party was sure she will not win.
“Besides, the seat was given to Congress in return for Raigad where state party chief Sunil Tatkare contested and narrowly lost,” he said.