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Chavan meets Kamat & legislators; no decision yet on seat sharing

Prithviraj Chavan met a host of Mumbai legislators and Member of Parliament Gurudas Kamat on Saturday.

Written by Kavitha Iyer | Mumbai |
January 8, 2012 12:34:12 am

While Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan met a host of Mumbai legislators and Member of Parliament Gurudas Kamat on Saturday,the impasse over a seat-sharing agreement between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party failed to be resolved as both parties waited to see who blinks first.

Kamat and legislators repeated their fears that the state Congress leadership would be playing into the NCP’s plans to grow roots in Mumbai with an eye on the 2014 Assembly elections if the party concedes to the NCP’s demand for a minimum of 65 seats in the 227-member BMC. The NCP has only 14 corporators in the BMC now and giving them 65 seats would mean handing over some seats held by Congress corporators or seats in which Congress candidates finished second in the 2007 polls.

“This would be demoralising for the party cadre. A small group of ministers cannot put the party’s future in the city in danger by making such a decision without a more consultative process,” a senior Congress functionary said.

The party believes that it stands a good chance of ousting the Shiv Sena-BJP from the BMC even without a prepoll alliance,based on the belief that the Congress now has more numbers in the Assembly than in 2007 and in the hope that a stronger Maharashtra Navnirman Sena will cut into the Sena voteshare more than it did in 2007,sources said. In such a scenario,a post-poll alliance may suffice to gain control of the BMC.

Meanwhile,MPCC president Manikrao Thakre postponed an extended executive committee meeting of all senior Congress functionaries that was originally scheduled for January 9,in view of the hectic parleys still on and also apparently under pressure from senior Congress leaders — including former MPCC president Ranjit Deshmukh and former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh — who have opposed the apparent submissive attitude adopted by the Congress state leadership vis-a-vis the NCP’s demands. Following the Congress being trumped by the NCP in the muniipal council polls last month,demands for accountability were also likely to be raised at the meeting.

A Congress leader said the Chief Minister would now meet district Congress presidents and senior functionaries from areas across the city to hear their views before a decision is made on the pre-poll alliance.

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