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Kamath’s missive to Sonia on party’s ‘succumbing’ to NCP

Even as talks between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party for a seat-sharing agreement for polls to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation failed to progress on Friday.

Written by Kavitha Iyer | Mumbai |
January 7, 2012 1:36:31 am

Even as talks between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party for a seat-sharing agreement for polls to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation failed to progress on Friday,senior Congress leader and former Union Minister of State Gurudas Kamath wrote to party president Sonia Gandhi voicing the discontent among a large section of Congress workers against the party’s apparent succumbing to the NCP’s demands for over 60 seats in the 227-member BMC.

Kamath’s missive to Gandhi said the party should not adopt a submissive posture in accommodating the NCP that has only 14 corporators in Mumbai at present. Senior Congress legislators have been expressing their disquiet at what they believe is the NCP’s unreasonable attitude in demanding a minimum 65 seats in Mumbai where its presence is negligible even while refusing to accommodate the Congress in cities such as Pimpri-Chinchwad and Pune,where it wants to go solo based on its inherent strength in those municipalities.

Under pressure from the Congress legislators and others,Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Manikrao Thakre and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan may now offer only 34 seats to the NCP,including the 14 it holds and 20 in which NCP stood second in the 2007 elections.

“The remaining seats it is demanding include a few which are held by Congress corporators and over 20 seats in which our candidates finished second,” said a Congressman. “There will be widespread dissidence if the MPCC president and chief minister accede to this unreasonable demand.”

Tallying the seats held by Congress corporators and those in which Congress candidates comes second as well as the NCP’s rightful claim to 34 seats leaves only 23 seats,which Congressmen want split equally between the two. “Let them take 12 of these remaining 23,that is still a total of 46 seats,which should be our reasonable and final offer,” a party functionary said.

While talks on Friday did not yield a resolution,Congress members of the coordination committee said another round of discussions was likely before a final announcement.

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