xAndhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s tragic death in a helicopter crash has halted the seat-sharing deliberations between Congress and Nationalist Congress Party for the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra. A decision on whether to continue the alliance with NCP was expected in a day or two. But Congress is mourning the demise of one of its most prominent leaders and hence all other matters for the moment have been put on the backburner, sources from the MPCC informed. Defense Minister A K Antony, who is also the general secretary in charge of the party’s affairs in the state, has held preliminary talks with AICC president Sonia Gandhi on the political situation in Maharashtra. A four-member AICC panel has already toured the state and assessed the ground situation. The state unit had also formed region-wise teams to interact with the cadre and galvanise them for the assembly polls. However, resumption of internal consultations on the issue of a poll pact at the level of central leadership has been delayed due to the funeral of the late CM of Andhra. Congress and NCP have also begun finalizing the list of candidates before the formal announcement of seat-sharing that is still awaited. Congress, sharing power with Sharad Pawar’s NCP in the state, has already submitted a list of prospective candidates to the Parliamentary Board. Instead of inviting applications from candidates to be fielded from 288 constituencies, the Congress’ state unit have asked its district chiefs to forward the names of probable candidates. According to NCP, the party would soon finalize the first list of 30 names, which includes prominent leaders like Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and water resources minister Ajit Pawar. With bureau inputs, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.
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