Toughening its stand on seat sharing in Maharashtra, Congress held discussions on Monday on the prospect of contesting all the 288 Assembly segments in the state alone but made it clear that it will take a decision only after NCP makes its stand known on a tie-up.
“We have held discussion on all seats,” said Madhusudan Mistry, AICC general secretary in-charge of the Central Election Committee after a meeting of the top election body chaired by party President Sonia Gandhi discussed the issue in detail.
Mistry, however, parried questions on an alliance with the NCP, which has so far not budged from its demand of 144 of the 288 seats in Maharashtra Assembly on a 50:50 formulae.
“Chief Minister, PCC President, the General Secretary in-charge and the high command will sit together and decide what has to be done with the alliance. I have no idea,” he said when pressed on whether the Congress-NCP alliance will continue or not.
Sources in the party, however, said no list is likely to be announced and the party would wait for the Core Committee meeting of the NCP in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, meanwhile, said that while the party is finalising the deliberations on pending seats, “discussions with NCP are going on at a different level”.
To question about Congress-NCP ties, he said, “Discussions with NCP are going on a separate platform”.
Sources said that Congress needs to discuss finer points related to some 20-odd seats now.
Tariq Anwar hopeful of NCP, Cong alliance
With Congress and NCP alliance for Maharashtra poll still undecided, NCP General Secretary Tariq Anwar today hoped it would be finalised soon and ruled out any possibility of his party going with BJP or Shiv Sena.
“Talks are moving in a positive direction and we are hopeful the alliance with Congress will be finalised soon,” Anwar told reporters.
Asked for deadline, he said “nominations have started so I think next 1-2 days are crucial.”
Asked if NCP was waiting for the fate of BJP-Shiv Sena alliance talks and about possibility of the party tying up with either of them, Anwar said “I do not see any distant possibility of going with BJP or Shiv Sena.”
Justifying NCP demand in Maharashtra, Anwar said in the 2010 Assembly poll Congress was given more seats on the basis of its performance in 2009 Lok Sabha election.
“This time situation is different. Since NCP has performed better in the just-concluded parliamentary election we are demanding repeat of the same formula to give more seats to NCP,” he said.
On the possibility of NCP going it alone, Anwar said “we have fought last five elections in Maharashtra with Congress and are hopeful of doing so again…but if this does not happen the party will decide the future course of action after discussion with workers.”