Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have finalised a seat-sharing agreement on 40 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, NCP leader Praful Patel announced at a press conference on Friday.
“We have decided that NCP and Congress will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections together on 40 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra. However, a decision is yet to be taken for the remaining 8 Lok Sabha seats of the state," said Patel.
The former UPA minister informed the mediapersons that a decision on the remaining eight Lok Sabha seats in the state was yet to be reached. At 48, Maharashtra has the second most number of Lok Sabha constituencies in the country after Uttar Pradesh’s 80.
Patel said that the NCP wanted to bring parties which believed in “BR Ambedkar’s ideology together.”
Patel’s announcement came after months of speculation over a possible alliance between Congress and NCP. NCP Chief Sharad Pawar had been holding consultations with Congress President Rahul Gandhi over the contours the alliance must take in the lead-up to yesterday’s announcement.
The NCP chief has been viewed as being critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, even boldly predicting at one point that Modi won’t be re-elected as the Prime Minister in the upcoming elections.
However, the Congress and the NCP face a formidable task in Maharashtra.
With Congress’ two and NCP’s four MPs, Maharashtra had only sent six MPs from both the parties in the 2014 general elections. On the other hand, the BJP’s tally stood at 23 and 18 members were elected from its NDA ally Shiv Sena.
But the joining of hands of the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra is expected to pose problems for the BJP in the elections, with its ally Shiv Sena turning up the heat on the PM over its inability to fulfill key elections pledges made in 2014.