The Congress and NCP are set to announce their seat-sharing arrangement for the Lok Sabha elections in the state on Saturday. Sources said that after several rounds of discussions, both parties have decided to stick with the formula they had adopted during the 2014 polls. While both had firmed up their alliance in Maharashtra a month ago, the seat-sharing arrangement was yet to be declared owing to differences over some seats and talks with smaller regional outfits.
With the understanding that both the parties would leave aside two seats each from their respective quota of seats for smaller allies, the Congress will have 26 seats in its kitty. Out of these 26 seats, the Congress will put up its own candidates in 24 seats.
Two other seats — Sangli and Palghar — from the party’s quota have been offered to accommodate smaller allies. Raju Shetti’s Swabhimani Paksha will contest the Sangli seat, while the Congress has decided to back Hitendra Thakur’s Bahujan Vikas Aghadi in Palghar.
On the other hand, the NCP has offered the Hatkanangle seat from its quota to Swabhimani Paksha, and the Amravati seat to Independent MLA Ravi Rana’s wife, Navneet Kaur.
While Rana has floated a new party ahead of the elections, Kaur was NCP’s official candidate for the seat the last time as well. The NCP will put up its own candidates in the remaining 20 seats.
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In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP-Shiv Sena combine had successfully ridden the Modi wave in the state to wrest 41 out of the 48 seats. Bidding to make it a more even contest this time, the Congress wanted to cobble together a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) of Opposition parties. But talks with CPI(M), BSP and SP hit a deadlock over seat sharing.
Eventually, the Congress managed to stitch together an alliance involving four contesting parties, and some other non-contesting allies.
While Congress president Rahul Gandhi and NCP president Sharad Pawar had also discussed the possibility of exchanging of a few seats between them, sources said that these talks had remained inconclusive.