Cong, NCP tone down differences over seats


Congress President Sonia Gandhi is expected to travel to the capital of Maharashtra on Monday to inaugurate the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee’s new office. Ahead of her visit to Mumbai, Gandhi had a meeting with Defence Minister A K Antony, who is in-charge of the party’s affairs in Maharashtra, and her political secretary Ahmed Patel.

Sources said Antony and Patel had briefed the Congress chief on the progress of the seat-sharing talks with the NCP.

The Congress is keen to contest on at least 179 of the 288 seats in the state Assembly. The party had contested for 166 seats during the last Assembly  polls in 2004, while the NCP had put its candidates in 122 seats. But, after its good performance in the Lok Sabha polls in April-May, the Congress is reluctant to give the NCP more than 109 seats.

The Congress and the NCP have been sharing powers in Maharashtra for the last 10 years.
The NCP, a few days ago,  had conveyed to the Congress that it would not accept anything less than 119 seats. But, according to sources, Agriculture Minister and NCP Chief Sharad Pawar is in no mood to break the ties with the Congress only for a few more seats.

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