Ahmednagar/Mumbai: Hardening its stand on seat-sharing with ally Congress in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections, NCP on Friday said it was prepared to contest in all the 288 constituencies on its own if its demand for equal number of seats was not accepted.
NCP president Sharad Pawar`s nephew and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, while addressing party workers at Ahmednagar, said, "If NCP does not get to contest 144 seats, then we will contest all 288."
"In 2009 (Assembly elections), how many seats NCP and Congress would contest was decided on the basis of performance of the two parties in the Lok Sabha polls held that year. This time, we have performed better. If we don`t get to contest equal number of seats, party workers should be prepared to fight in all 288," he said.
Pawar went on to say, in his personal opinion, all parties in the state should contest Assembly polls separately.
Ajit Pawar`s statement comes a day after state NCP president Sunil Tatkare raised the issue of the two allies contesting equal number of seats.
"Congress and NCP will fight Assembly elections together. But we will press for a 50-50 seat-sharing when we hold talks with Congress leaders. Whichever party gets more seats, will get to select the next CM," Tatkare had said.
NCP has been insisting on a larger share of seats on the ground that it had fared better than Congress in the Lok Sabha elections. Though the allies, who have been ruling the state since 1999, were decimated in the LS polls, NCP secured four seats and Congress only two. In 2009 Assembly polls, NCP had fielded its candidates in 114 constituencies against Congress` 174.
Meanwhile, state Congresss president Manikrao Thakre has declined to comment on Pawar`s demand for contesting equal number of seats. "We have officially received no proposal from NCP on seat-sharing so far," he said.