Mumbai: A decision on a Congress-NCP poll pact for the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra has been put on a backburner following the death of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
"A decision on whether to continue the alliance with NCP was expected in a day or two. But Congress is mourning the demise of one of its most prominent leaders and hence all other matters for the moment have been put on the backburner," Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) spokesman Hussain Dalwai said today.
Defence Minister AK Antony, who is the General Secretary in charge of the party`s affairs in the state, has held preliminary parleys with the AICC president Sonia Gandhi on the political situation in Maharashtra.
A four-member AICC panel has already toured the state to assess the ground situation and the state unit had also deputed teams region-wise to interact with the cadre and galvanise them for the Assembly polls.
However, resumption of internal consultations on the issue of a poll pact at the level of central leadership will take place only after the funeral of the Andhra CM, MPCC General Secretary Sanjay Dutt said.
MPCC president Manikrao Thakre has said that the state unit has already submitted its report to central leadership and is awaiting the decision of the high command to chalk out its next plan of action.
With seat-sharing between Congress and NCP yet to be formally announced for the next month`s Maharashtra Assembly elections, state units of both parties have begun the process of finalising the list of candidates.
NCP state leadership is scrutinising the list of applications received at district headquarters, while Congress had decided to convene a meeting of Parliamentary Board from September 5 to meet the prospective candidates.
However, the meeting has been postponed following Congress leader Reddy`s death.
Congress, sharing power with Sharad Pawar`s NCP in the state, has already submitted a list of prospective candidates to Parliamentary Board. Instead of inviting applications, the state unit had asked district chiefs to forward names of probable candidates in all the 288 constituencies.
NCP spokesman Madan Bafna told reporters that his party is expected to soon finalise the first list of 30 names, which includes prominent leaders like Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar.
"Prominent sitting MLAs may also be renominated. NCP may give preference to new faces in Pune and Thane districts," he said.
Emboldened by its good show in the recent Lok Sabha polls, Congress is expected to demand a larger chunk of seats than the 169 Assembly seats it contested last time.
Notification for the October 13 Assembly elections will be issued on September 18.