Stalemate over Cong-NCP alliance continues
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Last Updated: Saturday, January 07, 2012, 21:01
Mumbai: The stalemate between the Congress party and the NCP over an alliance for the Mumbai municipal polls slated for next month continues with the NCP refusing to budge from its demand for 65 seats.

Talks over the past few days to evolve a workable formula for pre-poll alliance have ended in a stalemate, sources said. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Industries Minister Narayan Rane are eager for an alliance with NCP to wrest the premier civic body from the Sena-BJP control and are said to be willing to concede the NCP demand. However, other senior party leaders from Mumbai have strongly opposed more space to the NCP.

Senior Congress leader and former union minister Gurudas Kamat has shot off a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi opposing the very idea of having an alliance with the NCP. According to him, Congress should have called off alliance talks when deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar declared that NCP would not go for any tie-up with Congress in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, where that party has a strong base.

Kamat questioned the need for alliance with NCP in Mumbai given that the party does not have much of a presence. He also demanded that the city unit chief Kripashankar Singh convene a MRCC executive committee meeting to discuss the issue of alliance.

Congress has said that it would contest 170 seats and leave 34 for the NCP. The latter, however, wants 65 seats. Congress had won 71 seats in 2007 election and finished second in 99 wards. NCP had won 14 seats and finishing second in 17 wards.

Sharad Pawar-led party has argued that in 2007, Congress had agreed to cede 65 seats before the talks broke down, and this time NCP should get at least 65 seats. Congress has said that it was willing to give only those seats to NCP where it had lost by more than 8000 votes in 2007.

Opinion of all MPs and MLAs is being sought on the issue, Congress sources said adding the talks are likely to drag on for few more days.

When contacted, NCP Mumbai president Narendra Verma said, "Talks were on and progressing in right direction. Myself and Kripashankar Singh held a marathon meeting and discussed several seats. I am confident the issue will be resolved soon."

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, state Congress president Manikrao Thakre and Mumbai unit chief Kripashankar Singh met this afternoon to discuss the overall strategy and preparations for the 10 municipal corporations and 27 zilla parishad elections.


First Published: Saturday, January 07, 2012, 21:01

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