Mumbai: Even as the BJP and ally Shiv Sena have gone full throttle with their campaign for the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra, the Congress is still struggling to reach a mutually agreeable seat-share pact with the Nationalist Congress Party and others it wants on board, said a DNA report on Tuesday.
In an exclusive report, the daily said that there have already been two meetings addressed by party president Rahul Gandhi in Dhule and Mumbai on March 1 but the party has failed to keep factionalism at bay. As of now, the Congress is expected to contest 25 of the 48 seats while the NCP would fight from the remaining 23 seats.
From the looks of it, the grand old party might spare one seat from its share for the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) led by farmer’s leader Raju Shetti.
The daily quotes a former minister holding talks with the NCP and like-minded parties as saying,”The party organisation in Maharashtra is completely paralysed due to weak organisational network, intra-party feud and disconnect with the young and new voters. Besides, there has been a lack of coordination between top leadership and district and village-level which is a major negative.”
The bone of contention for the Congress, the NCP are seats like Osmanabad and Raver which are in the latter’s quota. On its part, the NCP has expressed its desire to field its nominee in Aurangabad by exchanging Raver to Congress.
Besides, NCP has reportedly offered Amravati in exchange of Aurangabad. ”The seat-sharing exercise started about three months ago but we have been unable to close it due to lack of decisive leadership of the Congress,” said the legislator.
Fund crunch has also hit the campaign agains the BJP, said a six-term party legislator. ”The party nominees and other aspirants have told the leadership that financial crunch will be a major issue and sought substantial assistance citing that they cannot match BJP’s resources,” he said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Ratnakar Mahajan seemed upbeat and said what would work for the Congress would be the NDA government’s dismal performance. The seat-share is likely to be finalised sometime this week itself, said reports.