Pawar drove down to 10 Janpath, the residence of Gandhi, and met her for nearly 45 minutes.
New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday met Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar for seat-sharing talks in the coming Maharashtra Assembly elections that the two parties are fighting in an alliance.
Sources said Mr Pawar made chiefly two demands — one of the NCP fighting in 144 out of 250 seats the two parties plan to contest, and of including Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in the alliance.
Mr Pawar drove down to 10 Janpath, the residence of Mrs Gandhi, and met her for nearly 45 minutes. The two parties have already decided to fight the Assembly polls together. They had also fought the Lok Sabha elections tin an alliance.
Smaller parties like the Peasants and Workers Party, the Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana and a clutch of smaller outfits will also be a part of the NCP-Congress alliance. Sources said the alliance was likely to leave some 38 seats for these smaller parties.
The Maharashtra Assembly has 288 seats in all, thus the NCP-Congress would thrash out a seat-sharing formula for the remaining 250 seats.
The veteran leader is also learnt to have demanded that Raj Thackeray’s MNS be part of the alliance. However, the Congress is not too keen, citing deep ideological differences with Raj Thackeray.
The Congress and NCP have seen desertions by senior leaders to the BJP and the Shiv Sena, which has severely dented the Opposition alliance’s morale ahead of the Assembly elections.
In the current Assembly, out of 288 seats, the Shiv Sena-BJP have 185 seats, while the Opposition, including the Congress and the NCP, have 73 seats, and others six. The Opposition was routed in the Lok Sabha polls, with the Congress winning one and the NCP only four seats.
Political analysts felt it was clear the MNS had failed to make any impact on the results as both the BJP and the Shiv Sena succeeded in maintaining the almost the same number of seats as they got in 2014.
Against this, another smaller outfit, Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), seemed to hve played a major role in defeating the Opposition alliance. The results clearly indicated that the VBA directly impacted the results in at least seven Lok Sabha seats, where the margin by which the Opposition candidates lost was more than the votes polled by the VBA.