HW English

Congress, NCP alliance talks underway


Mumbai |┬áCongress and NCP leaders in Maharashtra met here on Friday to continue their discussions on alliance for the next year’s LokSabha and Assembly elections.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had held a discussion on alliance in Delhi on Thursday.

“Our endeavour is to ensure that a maximum number of like-minded parties come together to defeat the BJP,” state Congress chief Ashok Chavan said Friday after the meeting.

“We are discussing seat-sharing (between Congress and NCP) but also want to accommodate a maximum number of like-minded parties to avoid division of votes,” he said.

Congress leaders Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and Manikrao Thakre are holding talks with Dalit leader and Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh chief Prakash Ambedkar in order to persuade him to join the alliance, Chavan said.

To a question about the possibility of the Shiv Sena and Raj Thackeray-led MNS joining the opposition alliance, Chavan said the Congress has ideological differences with these two parties.

“We haven’t got any proposal for taking them along.

Even if there is a proposal, there is no question of accepting it,” the Congress leader said.

State NCP president Jayant Patil said the Congress and NCP are yet to discuss a formula for seat-sharing.

“At present, we are talking about individual seats and winning potential of possible candidates,” he said.

On NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad meeting Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, Patil said that Awhad met Thackeray to invite him for a book release, and the meeting was not political.

Meanwhile, sources said that one of the Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra which could be contentious in the alliance talks between the NCP and Congress could be Ahmednagar, which Congress leader Vikhe Patil wants for his son.

Ahmednagar is currently in the NCP’s quota.

The NCP is eyeing Pune, which is currently in the Congress’s quota, sources said.

The Congress is expected to demand Kolhapur, currently held by NCP MP Dhananjay Mahadik.

The Congress may agree to cede Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha seat to the NCP since the Congress does not have a good candidate thereafter Narayan Rane quit the party, sources added. The seat was earlier held by Rane’s son Nilesh Rane.

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