Mumbai: The Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress have reached a seat-sharing agreement on 45 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra’s kitty, NCP president Sharad Pawar has revealed to News18 days after his closed-door meeting with Rahul Gandhi.
In an exclusive interview, Pawar also said that the NCP would give one seat from its quota to Raju Shetti's Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, while the Congress will part with some seats from its share for Left parties.
The former CM also rubbished rumours of an alliance with Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
"The issue of seat sharing between us and the Congress is almost sorted now. There are talks about 2-3 seats. Our approach is that the party which has better chances of winning those one or two constituencies should fight from there. Currently, both of us are assessing that. Otherwise, we would have declared everything by now," Pawar said.
Spelling out the NCP-Congress strategy for a larger alliance in Maharashtra, Pawar said they would talk to one or two smaller parties in the state, and will part with some of their own seats for prospective allies. "We are in talks with Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana. My party has told me that we will leave one seat, that of Hatkanangle in Kolhapur, for Raju Shetti," Pawar said.
Asked if Raju Shetti had demanded seven seats from the alliance, Pawar said, “I have heard that he wants the Wardha seat as well. But Wardha is not with us. It is with the Congress. We will give him one seat from our quota."
He added that the Congress will hold talks with Left parties in the state. When asked if they will share seats with Bahujan Vikas Aghadi as well, he said the Congress will “take care of it”.
"This isn't an alliance issue. This is our internal question. The alliance is firmly in its place."
Terming his recent meeting with Raj Thackeray as a “personal” one, Pawar denied reports that the MNS had sought the Mumbai North East seat from the NCP.
"They haven't talked to me or to any other leader in my party. We haven't talked to the MNS," Pawar said, adding that Thackeray had met him to extend an invitation for his son’s wedding.
"People don't always meet for political reasons. His son is getting married. He had come to invite me for that. Since this is the first auspicious occasion in his house, he wanted to personally invite me," Pawar said.