Solapur seat may be sticking point for Congress-NCP alliance

The Solapur local bodies seat is likely to become a bone of contention between Congress and NCP as the two parties discuss a tie-up for the elections next month to eight seats in the Maharashtra Legislative Council.

Mumbai: The Solapur local bodies seat is likely to become a bone of contention between Congress and NCP as the two parties discuss a tie-up for the elections next month to eight seats in the Maharashtra Legislative Council.

At present, Solapur local bodies seat is represented by NCP's Deepak Salunke. NCP had also contested Akola-Washim-Buldhana seat last time, but lost to Shiv Sena's Gopikishan Bajoria.

Congress was keen on contesting the Akola-Washim-Buldhana seat this time, but it has not been able to find a good candidate, a party leader said requesting anonymity.

A Congress leader said that the two seats had gone to NCP last time despite the fact that Congress had more members in the municipal corporation, zilla parishad and gram panchayats in these districts.

"This time, the Solapur Congress unit wants to contest the council seat while the party has not been able to find a good candidate in Akola-Washim-Buldhana," he said, adding that the second seat could be given to NCP.

The Congress leader further said that the party's numbers are greater in Ahmednagar district too, but it is willing to leave that seat to NCP.

NCP has demanded Solapur and Ahmednagar, where it has a sitting MLC and a party-backed independent MLC, respectively. It is also keen on contesting the Akola-Washim-Buldhana seat.

Congress has said that its Solapur unit is firm that the seat would not be ceded.

An NCP leader, meanwhile, said that these issues would be sorted in the meeting of the state leaders early next week and the alliance will be finalised.NCP has proposed that the two parties form an alliance to contest all the biennial elections for filling the 30 vacancies that are to emerge in the Upper House over the next one year.

The Congress source said that its sitting MLCs Bhai Jagtap (Mumbai), Rajendra Mulak (Nagpur) and Amrish Patel (Dhule-Nandurbar) are likely to be retained. In Kolhapur, senior leader Prakash Awade or former minister Satej Patil may be fielded in place of the sitting MLC, Mahadev Mahadik.

Among the prominent leaders in the fray is Shiv Sena leader and environment minister Ramdas Kadam, who would be the party's candidate from Mumbai.

The eight Council seats falling vacant on January 1, 2016, include a seat each from Solapur, Kolhapur, Ahmednagar, Akola- Washim-Buldhana, Nagpur and Dhule-Nandurbar local bodies along with two seats from the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

The election would be held on December 27. Notification for the exercise would be issued on December 2 while the last date for filing of nominations will be December 9.

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