Congress and Nationalist Congress Party will hold alliance talks on Tuesday and Wednesday for the ensuing election to the 288-member Maharashtra assembly, slated for October.
The commencement of negotiations is close on the heels of the recent decision taken by the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party high commands, to continue alliance during the state assembly election.
The negotiations are going to take place when some leaders from both Congress and NCP are indulged in verbal duel over breaking the alliance and contesting assembly election independently to avoid back stabbing. However, some leaders press for poll tie-up, especially when both parties, together, are trailing in 240 assembly seats to saffron Shiv Sena-BJP combine in the general election.
The talks will begin after the Nationalist Congress Party last week made the Congress withdraw its candidate from the bypoll to the Maharashtra Legislative Council.
Congress, despite winning only two Lok Sabha seats, is so far disinterested to change the 174:114 seat-sharing formula implemented during the 2009 assembly poll.
The party on Sunday had already launched an interview of poll aspirants from 174 seats.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre told Business Standard that, “NCP’s demand for 144 seats is unacceptable to Congress party’s Maharashtra unit. As of now there is no formal decision on alliance between Congress and NCP. Besides, Congress party’s central leadership has not yet conveyed to state unit about poll tie up with NCP.”
On the other hand, NCP, which bagged four seats, is not in a mood to play second fiddle to Congress and party leaders Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare have been quite vocal, demanding 144 seats.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar admitted that demand for more seats was a demand of party workers. However, he signaled that NCP was ready for a compromise.
NCP insiders said that the party may be prepared to settle at 124 to 130 seats as it needs Congress party’s alliance desperately, considering the latter’s state wide presence in cross sections of the society.
NCP’s state unit spokesman Nawab Malik hoped that the alliance between the two parties will be sealed in a serious bid to keep the communal forces at bay.