NCP seeks 50 pc LS, LA seats in Maharashtra

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Nagpur, Oct 11 (UNI) Asserting that an alliance with the Congress was certain, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Maharashtra unit President Arun Gujarathi today said his party was seeking from its ally 50 per cent of the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly seats in the state for the forthcoming polls.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr Gujarathi said the division of seats between the two allies would depend upon local conditions and the strengths and capacities of each party in individual constituencies. ''We will not insist upon getting certain seats.

These things will have to be sorted out through discussions,'' he said.

The party would give preference to the youth during the selection of candidates, Mr Gujarathi said. Besides, although there was no reservation for women in the legislature, the NCP would try to give as many tickets to the fairer sex as possible, he added.

Replying to questions, the NCP unit president said that after the polls, the partner with the higher number of seats would naturally want to have its Chief Minister. Although the NCP had been the larger party after the polls in 2004, it gave up its claim to the top post in the interest of democracy and secularism, he claimed.

''However, let me assure you, this time history will not repeat itself,'' he quipped.

Lok Sabha polls were likely to be held in February next at the earliest, and latest by April, the former Maharashtra Legislative Assembly speaker said.

The NCP state unit had geared up for the polls, and was conducting district-wise and tehsil-wise training sessions for workers, he said. The workers were being trained to discuss vital issues like the nuclear deal, agriculture, farmers' problems and power, and to convey the achievements of the incumbent government to the electorate in an effective manner, he also said.

Mr Gujarathi replied in the affirmative, when asked if the presence of the Congress-NCP combine in power for two consecutive terms would create a strong anti-incumbency factor. ''That is why, we are beginning early and in right earnest. We know we need to work very hard, and we are doing it,'' he added.

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