NCP leaders including DyCM Ajit Pawar, state unit chief Sunil Tatkare, Assembly chairman Dilip Walse Patil at the core committee meeting in Mumbai on Monday
NCP leaders including DyCM Ajit Pawar, state unit chief Sunil Tatkare, Assembly chairman Dilip Walse Patil at the core committee meeting in Mumbai on Monday

Leaders of both parties to meet again in Mumbai today

Mumbai : Congress party appears to have adopted a strategy to keep lingering the issue regarding finalisation of seat-sharing agreement with its alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) even as the later made it clear that top leaders of both the parties would meet here again on Tuesday in an attempt to resolve the seat-sharing deadlock.

It is clear from the body language of leaders of both the parties that they are in touch with each other and there is good communication between them. But, it appears that they want to decide about their own alliance after the fate of Shiv Sena-BJP alliance is clear. When asked about the logjam over seat-sharing agreement with NCP, state party spokesperson Ratnakar Mahajan said, “Nothing can be said before tomorrow. We are having a series of meetings and whatever emerges out of the meetings will be communicated to the media,” he told FPJ.

NCP’s Core Committee meeting chaired by party chief Sharad Pawar went into a huddle here this afternoon where it reaffirmed that the alliance should continue but insisted on getting a larger share of the state’s 288 Assembly seats than 124 offered by Congress.

“Congress should be practical and we expect an open dialogue to find a solution to this deadlock. Time is running out for both of us as the last date of filing of nomination papers in September 27,” senior party leader Praful Patel told reporters after the meeting.

Patel said CM Prithviraj Chavan and Ahmed Patel, Political Secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, called him up yesterday and told him about their engagements in Delhi. They suggested that talks be held tomorrow, he said.

“It was decided that tomorrow at 10 a.m. Ajit Pawar, Sunil Tatkare, Chhagan Bhujbal and myself will meet Congress leaders and discuss seat-sharing. We expect Congress to discuss beyond 124 seats which we contested in 2004,” he said.

“The offer of 124 seats is unacceptable to us,” he said, adding NCP’s demand for increased number of seats stays.

Tomorrow’s meeting will be the first between the leaders of the two allies after Sharad Pawar had met Sonia Gandhi on August 6.

Patel also trashed reports suggesting that NCP could go with BJP after the polls.

“Mispropoganda against NCP is not right. We don’t have any other agenda. It’s our right to grow politically. Why accuse us of having an agenda. NCP has been the most loyal and responsible ally of Congress in the state and the centre. Our conduct has been exemplary,” he said.

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Congress’ first list on Sept 25: Rane

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Narayan Rane Monday said the first list of the party’s candidates for next month’s assembly polls would be announced on September 25. He also backed continuation of alliance with NCP.

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