The ongoing stalemate over the seat-sharing formula between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, the ruling coalition partners in Maharashtra, continued with both the parties deciding to meet again on March 2.
The coalition leaders met in Mumbai on Friday night in the backdrop of stalemate over the seat-sharing formula and reports about growing proximity between the NCP and the Shiv Sena.
The NCP is firm on its demand for 24 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats while the Congress wants to stick to the 2004 formula where the Congress had contested on 27 seats and NCP on 21 in the last Lok Sabha polls.
Addressing media-persons after an hour-long meeting, state Congress president Manikrao Thakre said the two sides foccussed on constituency-wise discussions and the contentious issue of the formula did not come up during the deliberation.
Talks revolved around constituencies in north Maharashtra. "We could finalise some constituencies but the talks remained inconclusive because of the paucity of time," Thakre said adding that the next meeting will be held on March 2 at 'Varsha', Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's official residence.
Asked about the critical editorial against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in NCP's mouth-piece Rashtrawadi, Thakre said the issue did not figure in today's meeting and added that the party wished to close the chapter as the Sharad Pawar-led outfit has disowned the editorial.
Apart from Thakre, Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, state campaign committee chairman Gurudas Kamat, Mumbai Pradesh Congress Committee president Kripashankar Singh represented the Congress while the NCP was represented by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar, Energy Minister Sunil Tatkare, state NCP president R R Patil, Mumbai NCP president Sachin Ahir and senior leader Padamsinh Patil.