In a forward movement on the long-ending seat-sharing issue ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly elections, Congress and NCP leaders will be meeting in Mumbai tonight to discuss it.

This was decided at a meeting of Sate Congress leaders convened by AICC in-charge for Maharashtra and Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

“Leaders of both Congress and NCP will meet in Mumbai tonight on the seat-sharing” issue, Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who is chairman of the State election management committee, told PTI.

Mr. Deshmukh said Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, PCC chief Manikrao Thakre, senior Maharashtra minister Narayan Rane and Mumbai Congress chief Kripa Shankar Singh besides himself will represent the Congress at the talks.

The NCP will be represented by Union Minister Praful Patel, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, state NCP chief R.R. Patil, senior Maharashtra Minister Ajit Pawar and Mumbai NCP chief Sachin Ahir, he said.

So far, the Congress has kept NCP on tenterhooks on the issue of alliance and had told Sharad Pawar’s party that it needed to accept new ground realities while deciding seat-sharing.

“Nothing is finalised,” Mr. Deshmukh said when asked whether the talks meant that the two parties would be jointly contesting the Assembly elections.

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