Maharashtra polls: 'No dispute with NCP on 150 seats,' says Congress

The Congress and the NCP bagged 42 and 41 seats, respectively.

Mumbai: The opposition Congress and NCP in Maharashtra have no dispute on nearly 150 out of the total 288 Assembly seats and would soon decide on sharing these for the state polls due later this year, a Congress leader said on Wednesday. Senior leaders of the two parties met here on Tuesday evening to deliberate on the broad contours of seat-sharing arrangements for the forthcoming state Assembly polls. "There is no dispute between the two parties on about 150 seats. Since we fought the 2014 state polls separately, the 2009 seat-sharing arrangements would be the baseline this time," the state Congress leader told PTI.

"A final decision would be taken after discussing the performance of both the parties in the 2014 elections and the prevailing situation. Some seats could be exchanged and some could be left for other allies," he said. The leader said "winnability" would be given priority while deciding which party would contest a particular seat. He also said that Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, who heads the Vanchit Bahujan Agadhi (VBA), has responded "positively" to a letter inviting him for talks with the Congress and NCP leaders for the state polls. "He wants us to clear the perception that his faction was the BJP's 'B-team', as alleged by the opposition parties during the Lok Sabha poll campaign earlier this year," the Congress leader said. "If Ambedkar joins hands with us, there is no question of calling him the B-team of BJP," he added.

During the Lok Sabha polls held this year, the VBA, which also comprises the AIMIM, contested all 48 seats in the state. AIMIM candidate Imtiyaz Jaleel won the Aurangabad Lok Sabha seat by defeating senior Shiv Sena leader Chandrakant Khaire by a narrow margin.

Last week, Ambedkar offered 40 out of the total 288 Assembly seats to the crisis-hit Congress, if it wanted to enter into an alliance for the state polls, due in September- October. Claiming that the Congress has become "rudderless", he said the VBA is ready to contest all 288 seats in the state. In the 2014 elections, the BJP came to power by winning 122 seats. Its ally Shiv Sena won 62 seats.

The Congress and the NCP bagged 42 and 41 seats, respectively.

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