Maharashtra polls: Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi over seat sharing

New Delhi: NCP leader Sharad Pawar met Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence on Tuesday and is learnt to have discussed the seat-sharing arrangement between the two parties for the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections.

The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have already decided to contest the polls together. The two parties had contested the assembly polls in 2014 separately, but got together in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and contested the seats as part of a coalition.

Leaders of the two parties in Delhi and Mumbai on Tuesday held deliberations on selection of candidates. While the Congress screening committee for Maharashtra met in Delhi under the chairmanship of Jyotiraditya Scindia and discussed candidates for the assembly polls, Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat and NCP’s Ajit Pawar held separate talks in Mumbai over seat-sharing arrangement, sources said.

Top sources in the party said out of the total 288 seats of the Legislative Assembly where elections are held directly, the two parties have held talks on seat-sharing and candidates for over 240 seats. Pawar, the sources said, is learnt to have given a final shape to the broad seat-sharing arrangement between the two parties for the Maharashtra Assembly polls slated to held in October, but detailed discussions will continue for the next few days before a final tie-up plan is laid out.

Sources point out that leaders of both the parties are going by the winnability factor and are holding deliberations on the best available candidate. Over the past few weeks, state leaders of the two parties have met several times to discuss the matter. Pawar also attended a ‘Shradhanjali Sabha‘ held in the memory of former Union minister Arun Jaitley in Jawaharlal Stadium.