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CONGRESS STRATEGY FOCUSSES ON KEEPING SHARAD PAWAR TIED FOR A HARD BARGAIN OVER SEAT SHARING

congress2Congress is all set for hard bargaining with Sharad Pawar over seat sharing in the coming assembly polls in Maharashtra, harping on the fact that it emerged as the top party in the state while NCP was at the fourth spot. Narayan Rane’s announcement of an industrial township too is being viewed as one of the many steps taken by Congress to corner NCP. The strategy is not to break the alliance, but to have it on the terms of the Congress by telling Sharad Pawar to see reason in the wake of the changed scenario, said a Union minister from Maharashtra, who did not wish to be identified. The statement came close on the heels of state PCC chief Manikrao Thakres assertion that the new reality after the Lok Sabha elections needed to be taken into consideration while deciding on the seat allocation among the allies. In the 288-seat Maharashtra assembly, the Congress had contested 166 seats in the last state election. The NCP had fought 122 seats, a majority of them in the sugar belt of western Maharashtra, considered to be a stronghold of Sharad Pawar. But that too has seen erosion of NCP base in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections. And in wake of the changed scenario, sources reveal that the Congress is using every pressure tactic to corner NCP. Some are viewing Narayan Rane’s visit to Navi Mumbai, which is again a stronghold of NCP as one of the many steps taken by Congress to corner NCP and its Supremo Sharad Pawar. Sana Warsia – NMTV News.

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