Mumbai, Aug 27: In a tit-for-tat move, Maharashtra unit of Congress today said it had invited ticket aspirants for 114 Assembly constituencies, contested by its ally NCP in the previous elections, for ‘discussions’ on August 31. The two alliance partners have not yet finalised seat-sharing deal for coming elections, as NCP is seeking half of the total 288 seats, while Congress is willing to cede only ten extra seats than the last time.

MPCC president Manikrao Thakre said the party had already interviewed aspirants for 174 seats which are in its quota as per the 2009 seat sharing arrangement with NCP. He said the party decided to hold discussions with ticket aspirants for remaining seats after NCP president Sharad Pawar called Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and informed that his party had conducted interviews only for 114 constituencies in its own quota, while for the rest 174, ‘discussions’ were held.

Earlier, Thakre had taken objection to NCP interviewing aspirants for seats in Congress’s quota too. Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant said for all the 288 constituencies about 5,000 applications had been received. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said here that the party’s move to hold discussions with aspirants for 174 seats in Congress’s quota did not imply that alliance was off and it would be contesting all the seats on its own. “The alliance will materialise,” he said.