Mumbai, January 14: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has sealed a deal with Congress on the seat-sharing arrangement in Maharashtra for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said in an interview to a news channel. Sharad Pawar said the NCP and Congress have reached to an agreement on 45 out of 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra and clarified that Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena won't be part of the alliance.
"The issue of seat sharing between us and the Congress is almost sorted now. There are talks about 2-3 seats. Our approach is that the party which has better chances of winning those one or two constituencies should fight from there. Currently, both of us are assessing that. Otherwise, we would have declared everything by now," Pawar was quoted as saying. The NCP chief, however, didn't reveal how many seats the two parties will contest. Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Shivpal Singh Yadav Ready to Join Hands with Congress, Terms SP-BSP Alliance as 'Thugbandhan'.
Reportedly, there is a disagreement on Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Nandurbar, Jalna and Raver parliamentary seats. Congress president Rahul Gandhi suggested resolving the matter by a group of four leaders, two each from both the parties. Congress's Maharashtra in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge and state president Ashok Chavan will now discuss the issue senior NCP leader Praful Patel and state NCP chief Jayant Patil. Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Mayawati Announces BSP-SP Tie-Up For UP, Releases Seat-Sharing Formula.
Pawar said talks are on to include smaller parties in the alliance. "We are in talks with Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana. My party has told me that we will leave one seat, that of Hatkanangle in Kolhapur, for Raju Shetti," he said. When asked about the share of Left parties and Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, Pawar said the Congress will “take care of it”. However, he denied induction of the MNS in the tie-up.
Pawar termed his recent meeting with MNS chief Raj Thackeray as a “personal” one and denied reports that the MNS had sought the Mumbai North East seat from the NCP. "They haven't talked to me or to any other leader in my party. We haven't talked to the MNS. People don't always meet for political reasons. His son is getting married. He had come to invite me for that," he said.