Seat-Sharing Talks begins between Congress and NCP for 2019 Lok Sabha polls
Updated:  Sep 11, 2018, 09:00 AM
Ahead of upcoming Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls Congress and NCP leaders in Maharashtra began their preliminary seat-sharing talks.
The Congress said the main aim to forging a "grand alliance" of "secular" parties is to take on the BJP and the Shiv Sena.
Both the parties ruled Maharashtra for 15 years from 1999 and then defeated by the BJP after they parted ways ahead of the polls in 2014 Assembly elections.
Ashok Chavan, state Congress president told reporters that the leaders of the two parties met to discuss poll preparations to take on the BJP and the Shiv Sena and said it was a good start.
The former chief minister said, "It was a good start. Both the parties unanimously decided to have a grand alliance of secular parties. Our main fight is with the BJP and the Shiv Sena, and we have to avoid division of secular votes".
"We decided to take the initiative to speak to leaders of other like-minded parties (for the grand alliance). The leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil will speak to the leaders (of like-minded parties)," he added. Chavan said both the parties will meet again later this week.
He said, "We will have a meeting in two to three days. There will be clarity in a week's time about the stand of these like-minded parties. But the Congress and the NCP have decided to take the lead to speak to them."
The Congress leader said the upcoming state and Lok Sabha polls are really crucial to the state and country. "We have decided to contest the polls together to avoid any division of votes," he said.
There were many other senior leaders present at the meeting including former Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, former state unit chief Manikrao Thakre, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam, deputy party leader in the Assembly Vijay Waddetiwar and former minister Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan. From NCP there were State NCP president Jayant Patil, former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, Mumbai NCP president Sachin Ahir, senior leaders Anil Deshmukh, Shashikant Shinde, Jitendra Awhad, Sunil Tatkare and Chhagan Bhujbal present at the meeting.
Both Congress and NCP started their preparation separately for the upcoming polls.
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