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Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar discuss possibility of Congress-NCP merger: Sources

The meeting comes amid uncertainty over who will be the next Congress president as Rahul has been adamant that he does not want to continue at the post. 

Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar discuss possibility of Congress-NCP merger: Sources

NEW DELHI: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar at the latter's residence in Delhi. Sources say that the leaders discussed the possibility of a merger of the two parties. 

The meeting comes amid uncertainty over who will be the next Congress president as Rahul has been adamant that he does not want to continue at the post. Several Congress, as well as Opposition leaders, have been urging Rahul not to resign from the post and reconsider his decision. 

Taking responsibility of the Congress debacle, Rahul had offered to step down from the post. He had offered to resign at the Congress Working Committee meeting in Delhi but was unanimously rejected his resignation. 

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In the recently-concluded Lok Sabha election, the Congress bagged 52 seats while NCP won 5 seats. Congress is two short of getting the post of Leader of Opposition in Parliament as a party needs to win at least 10 per cent of Lok Sabha seats to be eligible for the post. So the minimum seats required for the same is 54 as the Lok Sabha has 543 elected members.

NCP, an offshoot of the Congress was formed in 1999 by Sharad Pawar, PA Sangma, and Tariq Anwar after they questioned Sonia Gandhi's right to lead the party on account of her foreign origins. The three leaders were expelled from the Congress and they went on to form the NCP. However, the NCP has been part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance which is headed by Sonia Gandhi.