NCP-Cong tussle likely over Council by-elections

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Mumbai, Feb 2 (PTI) Differences have cropped up inthe Congress-NCP combine in Maharashtra over the upcomingby-election to the Legislative council on February 21, withboth the parties staking claim over one of the two seats.

Former Shiv Sena MLC Kiran Pawaskar resigned from theupper house of the state Legislature last month to join theNCP, which necessitated the by-election for his seat.

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC)president Manikrao Thakre told reporters today that his partyhad no issues regarding the Nashik Local Bodies seat, whereby-election will be held on February 28. Vacancy was createdthere by the death of NCP MLC Vasant Pawar.

However, he said Pawaskar''s seat should come toCongress. "NCP holds that seat. But technically, the seatshould come to Congress since Pawaskar had won it as a Senacandidate against us," Thakre said.

Pawaskar had defeated Congress MLC Sudhakar Gangane inMarch 2008 to win it.

However, NCP is not ready to give it up. State unitpresident Madhukar Pichad said, "Getting that seat elected isa prestige issue for us."

He indicated that Kiran Pawaskar will be re-nominatedfor the seat. "He sacrificed his legislative council seat tojoin us," Pichad added.

To a question if his party would step aside for theChief Minister Prithviraj Chavan -- who is yet to be electedto the state legislature -- Pichad said there would beseveral people in the Congress, ready to vacate the seat forChavan.

Thakre felt the issue could be resolved through talks.

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