Chavan steers clear of question on seat sharing with NCP



New Delhi: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Friday night steered clear of questions whether Congress was ready to continue the current seat sharing ratio with the NCP in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

"No comments", was the cryptic reply of Chavan to questions on whether the seat sharing formula of 26-22 for the Congress and NCP respectively would continue in the next Lok Sabha polls.

The Chief Minister merely said the Congress-NCP alliance would continue.

Chavan also parried a question on whether he would contest the next Lok Sabha elections.

Congress had in the last Lok Sabha elections had won 17 seats in Maharashtra due to division in the Opposition vote following emergence of Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. NCP had managed only eight losing some of its strongholds in the wake of problems in candidate selection.

Chavan's comments came in the wake of yesterday's strategy meeting held by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi with party leaders from Maharashtra.

NCP has already said that it would contest the next Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the Congress.

NCP which has just nine members in the Lok Sabha has stuck by the UPA despite the parting of ways by the Trinamool Congress and the DMK.

Recently, Independent MLA Manish Jain, the son of NCP MP Ishwarlal Jain, joined the Congress at a rally in Jalgaon.

The state leaders of the NCP are also keen on contesting the Pune Lok Sabha seat, which is currently represented by suspended Congress leader Suresh Kalmadi.

Congress and NCP are ruling Maharashtra in an alliance since 1999 just a few months after Pawar parted ways with the Congress on the issue of foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi.

The two parties are sharing power at the Centre since May 2004 when Sonia Gandhi led UPA to power ousting the BJP-led NDA.

PTI