Sharad Pawar asks Congress to give NCP 50% of Maharashtra’s LS seats

According to the Nationalist Congress Party, the demand to be major player in a grand alliance for 2019 Lok Sabha elections was made during party chief Sharad Pawar’s meeting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi last Thursday.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has demanded 50% of the 48 Lok Sabha (LS) seats in Maharashtra from the Congress Party for the 2019 elections. According to the NCP, the demand to be major player in a grand alliance was made during Pawar’s meeting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi last Thursday.

Last month, the Congress and the NCP drew up a plan to form the grand alliance, including 8-10 smaller parties, against the ruling dispensation of BJP and Shiv Sen ahead of next year’s LS and state assembly elections.

According to a source, Pawar seemed to have demanded 24 seats , citing that the NCP won four seats in Maharashtra compared to two by the Congress in 2014 LS polls.The Congress contested 26 compared to 21 by the NCP.

“Pawar has asked for 50% of the LS seats . Seat-sharing talks are in progress and would be finalised soon,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.

The meeting was also attended by top Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Ashok Gehlot and NCP leader Praful Patel. Pawar, despite his advanced age, is playing an active role to form a united opposition against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), said the source. Pawar had recently called for a meeting with local NCP leaders to narrow down a list of probable candidates.

The Pawar revelation comes after state NCP chief Jayant Patil said on Friday that there was no such demand by the party. Sources within the Congress said the party would not agree to such a demand. “We lost the last elections owing to the Narendra Modi-wave but we are still a major force in Maharashtra,” said a Congress leader.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, NCP’s Supriya Sule, Vijaysigh Mohite Patil, Udayanraje Bhosale and Dhananjay Mahadik were elected from Western Maharashtra, while Ashok Chavan and Rajeev Satav of the Congress were elected from Marathwada.

Source: Hindustan Times

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