There were signs of a disagreement between the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party ( NCP) over seat-sharing in the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra, on Thursday.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday said the Congress would not compromise with its “self-respect” in the seat-sharing arrangement for the assembly polls. The statement came in the wake of a demand by the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party ( NCP) to contest 144 of the 288 assembly seats in the state.
“The decision on seat sharing will be in a respectful manner or otherwise there will be no alliance. There will be no compromise with the self-respect of the Congress,” Chavan told party workers at a rally in Pune.
“We will not allow a one-sided approach on the seat-sharing arrangement.The Congress is a big party in the state and the country; the alliance has been following the formula of Congress contesting 174 seats and NCP contesting 114 seats in the assembly elections,” he said.
Congress’ Maharashtra chief Manikrao Thakre said Congress and NCP leaders had started holding meetings to decide on the seat-sharing arrangement for assembly elections. “The NCP has demanded 144 seats in the seat-sharing arrangment for the assembly elections. However, we have made it clear that it will not be possible.” “There is no question over giving a higher share of seats to the NCP in the alliance. The Congress had demanded the same in the previous elections but the NCP did not allow so,” he said.
The NCP has been staking claim on the grounds of more MPs of the party in the Lok Sabha as compared to the Congress, Thakre said. “NCP MPs were elected to Lok Sabha due to the support of the Congress. They should study the Assembly performance and to find that the NCP MPs were leading in assembly seats represented by Congress legislators in assembly,” Thakre said.
He told party workers that the Congress would not accept the NCP’s demand, and that party workers should start preparations in all the 288 assembly seats.
The state Congress chief said the party planned to declare the first list of its candidates for the assembly elections by August 7.
State minister Patangrao Kadam said the party should be prepared to contest from all the 288 seats if the alliance with NCP does not work out.