Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, both the Congress and the NCP, who have decided to contest elections along with other like-minded parties, seem to be struggling over a seat-sharing formula.
While the NCP has been insisting on 24-24 seat formula, the Congress is pitching for the 2014 format of 27-21 seats.
“At yesterday’s meeting, no final decision was taken on seat sharing. Even in the past, we could not arrive at a decision. The meetings will continue till we arrive at a decision,” said NCP spokesperson, Nawab Malik.
Former CM and Congress leader, Prithviraj Chavan, also confirmed that talks on seat sharing were held, but they could not reach any conclusion. “We hope to resolve the seat-sharing confusion in the future meetings,” he said.
“We have placed a proposal that all the 48 Lok Sabha seats should be divided equally. We will contest 24 seats,” Malik said, adding that the other allies should be accommodated by both parties in their allotted quota.
Chavan said the Congress wanted to go with the 2014 formula of 27-21 seats. “This is because of our improved performance in subsequent Assembly elections and local body polls,” he said. NCP said the Congress had contested one extra seat of Hatkanangle. “The formula was 26-21 seats, but later the Congress contested Hatkanangle seat,” said an NCP leader.
Both the parties have come to a logjam on at least five seats, which include Pune, Ahmednagar, Parbhani, Kolhapur and Mumbai Northwest. NCP has been insisting that the Congress should transfer three seats, including the Pune seat, to it. The party feels it has a strong leader than Congress in the Pune seat. It had made its stance clear in the previous meetings as well on Saturday.
The NCP initially intended to field its supremo, Sharad Pawar, who has however clarified that he is out of the poll race.
Chavan said, “At yesterday’s meeting too, there were rumours about it…We don’t know what NCP has decided though the party has said Pawar does not intend to contest.”
“I had earlier denied when first the speculations surfaced and even now I am saying I have no intentions to contest from the Pune LS seat,” Chavan added.
Another NCP spokesperson, Sanjay Tatkare, said on Saturday, the talks veered around the exchange of seats. “NCP has sought Pune seat while Congress wanted Ahmednagar seat for the son of its leader, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.
Similarly, NCP has asked for the Mumbai seat from where Gurudas Kadam has contested, as also Parbhani where Congress had lost to Shiv Sena. The talks were basically about the exchange of five seats,” he said.
As for Pune seat, Tatkare said NCP has strong leaders in Pune city than the Congress. He said Parth Pawar, son of Ajit Pawar, was not one of the aspirants.
Meanwhile, an NCP leader said leaders from both the parties arrived late for Saturday’s meeting. “They had dinner and a little discussion and left without making any headway over seat sharing. There was no bitterness and the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. If state leaders of both parties fail to reach a consensus, the matter will be decided by the parties’ high commands,” he said.