Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan addressing a press conference on Friday.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan addressing a press conference on Friday.

Seat-sharing process halted due to differences; Chavan banks on 15 years of performance

Mumbai : The seat sharing agreement with the alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will be finalised within 2-3 days and the Congress would come to power for the fourth consecutive term, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Friday.

“Seat-sharing talks with ally NCP were on. They were halted due to differences over one or two seats, but the hurdles have been removed and announcement regarding an agreement will be made very soon. We have completed the process of candidate selection as well,” Chavan said.

Chavan, who faces a tough task to turnaround the Congress fortunes after the debacle in Lok Sabha polls, was speaking to media after the poll date was announced. “The party has put the May defeat behind and is set to seek a fresh mandate in the next month’s Assembly elections. The party has been preparing for the Assembly polls with full vigor,” he said.

Chavan, who took charge in late 2010, said “senior leaders had been assigned specific tasks and the party is presenting a picture of collective responsibility.”

Chavan said the seat-sharing talks with the Sharad Pawar-led NCP would take place in two phases – finalising the number of seats each party will contest and swapping of Assembly segments. “Interests of both parties will be taken into consideration while finalising the agreement.”

The Chief Minister said that the people of the State will defeat communal forces. “We have achievements of our 15 years of rule in the State and 10 years of UPA Government to highlight among the electorates. People know the economic mess the Sena-BJP Government created when they were given a chance to govern the State (1995-99),” the Congress leader maintained.

He said the Congress-NCP Government had successfully tackled several challenges and ensured Maharashtra retains its top position in various fields like infrastructure, health, education, horticulture and industrial development.

Chavan said the Congress manifesto would be released soon and it would focus on the party’s plans to develop a knowledge-based economy in Maharashtra, one of the most industrialised and urbanised States in the country.

Asked if he will contest the Assembly polls, Chavan, currently a member of the Legislative Council, said a decision in this regard would be taken by the party’s poll panel. “I have conveyed my views to the party,” the 68-year-old engineer-turned-politician said without elaborating.

The election for 288-member Assembly will take place on October 15. In 2009, Congress had contested 174 seats and NCP 114, but the latter is now demanding more seats.

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