congressMeanwhile, the Congress kept up the suspense over the fate of its alliance with the NCP in Maharashtra, continuing with pressure tactics to get Mr Sharad Pawar’s party to cede more seats to the Congress than it did in 2004. Though the Congress leader in charge of Maharashtra, AK Antony met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the alliance issue, the party was silent on the outcome of the meeting. Despite the Election Commission announcing the polling date of October 13, the Congress seems to have adopted a strategy of wearing down its ally. Congress has adopted a tough position on seat-sharing this time, asking the NCP to acknowledge the changed ground realities after the 2009 general elections. Congress had performed better, winning 17 seats to NCP’s seven in Maharashtra. It wants the 2009 assembly election formula to reflect this change. However, Sonia Gandhi is said to have told her party colleague A K Antony to initiate the seat-sharing negotiations with the NCP leadership. Antony is set to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar in a day or two.

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