Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, on Wednesday, said that his party will contest the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra in alliance with the Congress.
Pawar made the announcement after he met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss seat sharing.
It remains unclear whether the two leaders have finalised a pact on the number of seats each party will contest.
Pawar’s meeting with Sonia comes days after the Congress’ state leadership termed NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s demand for 144 seats – of the total of 288 seats – to contest in the polls as “unjustified”. Ajit Pawar had citied his party’s “improved performance” in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as justification for increase of their quota.
The Congress won two seats in the recently-held general elections in Maharashtra, while the NCP got four.
“There is no question of Congress giving equal share (of seats) to NCP. There is no justification for this demand,” state unit Congress president Manikrao Thakre told party workers at a rally in Nagpur. State Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan also spoke on the occasion.
Earlier, NCP spokesperson DP Tripathi too had pitched for more seats for the NCP. Tripathi said that political reality is that NCP should get two-third seats following its showing in the Lok Sabha polls vis-a-vis Congress in the state, but it was ready to settle for half the seats.
Tripathi suggested that the issue of leadership in the state needed to be thought afresh in the backdrop of the changed situation that has seen NCP winning four while Congress just two seats in the Lok Sabha polls which concluded in May.
“Congress should learn lessons from its defeat and change its style of functioning as also dealing with its allies,” he said, adding if the alliance is broken in the state the blame will squarely go to the Congress.