Racing against time to firm up seat-sharing for coming assembly polls in Maharashtra, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party are likely to begin talks for this in a day or two.
An indication to this effect was given by a senior Congress leader who claimed forward movement on the alliance issue would be seen in a couple of days. NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who arrived in New Delhi after marathon talks with party leaders in Mumbai on poll preparations, said Congress has to take the initiative for the seat-sharing talks.He told reporters that "instead of wasting time in delaying the issue, let us accept the number (of seats) as last time". His statement meant that the two parties should settle for the 2004 poll seat-sharing ratio of 122 for NCP and 166 for Congress.
Pawar said that "in the larger interest of the state, it will be ideal if we contest jointly," adding attempts are being made in parts of Maharashtra to communalise the atmosphere.
At the same time, he suggested that whatever changes have taken place in the constituencies following the delimitation, state leaders of both the parties should sit together and resolve these issues.
Pawar said a pragmatic approach needs to be adopted in the wake of the delimitation exercise. He said given the fact that communal violence was being instigated by certain political party leaders, "in such a situation, keep unity among all sections of the state". Congress has, however, made it known that there was no question of it agreeing to the old formulation of seat-sharing and it needed to be done afresh in the backdrop of the changed scenario after the Lok Sabha polls and the delimitation of the constituencies.
NCP general secretary and Union Minister Praful Patel has said the fact that talks between the two parties have not yet started was a "cause for anxiety and worry". "Our only concern is that it is getting too late". Another NCP leader Govindrao Adik has said if there is no alliance, "we have made full preparation for contesting all the 288 seats".