Assembly election: Congress, NCP clinch seat-sharing deal

Nashik: The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will contest 125 seats each of the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, while other allies will contest the remaining 38 in the poll next month, NCP President Sharad Pawar announced in Nashik on Monday.

Addressing the media, he said the other allies include the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, the Peasants & Workers Party, the Peoples Republican Party and the Left parties.

Pawar said it will be significant which seat will be contested by which party and the candidates they put up, though there may a swapping of a few seats, even as the NCP will try and give opportunity to fresh faces.

“We are making efforts to have a combined election rallies of all Opposition parties in important cities like Nagpur, Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik. Barely a month is left and the Election Commission is likely to announce the election scheduled this week,” he said.

The NCP chief’s declaration came even as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena combine have yet to finalise their alliance amid murmurs of discontent in the latter which may be offered a lesser quota by the BJP.

On the spate of defections from the NCP to the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena, Pawar said: “We are not concerned about those who have left the party. Some people feel they (BJP-Sena) will return to power.

However, the public sentiments are against them. We will definitely win.” “Some people who have quit the NCP have said they were threatened with probes by investigating agencies like the ED. I don’t want to reveal their names, but this is what they have said,” he claimed.

On his remarks concerning Pakistan, the NCP chief said he said nothing about the neighbouring country, but commented on his experiences with the people of that nation.

“The CM (Devendra Fadnavis) should get proper information before speaking. I had spoken about my friends, the response given to Indian cricket team, how they cheered everytime they (Indians) scored runs, and such things,” Pawar said.

Meanwhile, Congress Campaign committee chief in Maharashtra, Nana Patole refuted the claims of NCP chief Sharad Pawar on seat sharing in the state.

“There will be a coalition between us and the NCP but the talks on seat-sharing are ongoing. No final decision has been taken as of now. Neither has the seat-sharing formula been decided,” Patole told ANI here.

He advised Pawar not to demand those seats from the Congress where NCP did not have a stronghold or did not enjoy popular majority traditionally.

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