No deal yet for Congress-NCP

Despite Sharad Pawar's deadline, the two parties did not meet to seal the deal; as for the saffron combine, RPI was offered 20 seats from Sena's quota and 9 from BJP's

Despite a deadline of 24 hours given by NCP supremo Sharad Pawar to Congress on forging an alliance with his party, no decision crystallised on Monday. While from the Congress, both CM Prithviraj Chavan and MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre drive some tough points home, the NCP camp was still waiting for an invitation for another round of talks.

My way or the highway? While CM Chavan said the alliance should be
based on the 2007 BMC election results, party's state president Manikrao
Thakre said Pawar's deadline of a day was not acceptable. File pic

While Chavan said the alliance should be based on the BMC election results of 2007, Thakre said Pawar's deadline of a day was not acceptable and NCP's demand for 65 seats was unjustified.

The CM, who returned fromĀ  New Delhi in the afternoon, met senior party leaders to discuss the alliance. A meeting with NCP has been scheduled for this evening where alliance talks will be sealed, sources from the party said.

Meanwhile, the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP combine in BMC sealed its pact with RPI. An announcement will be made on January 11. As per the formula devised, Sena will contest 133 seats, BJP 62 and RPI 29. Sena has offered 20 and BJP 9 from their respective quota of seats, said the sources.

Changing loyalties
For the saffron combine, developments in Thane came as a big boost after Dashrath Patil, a prominent NCP leader, decided to join the Shiv Sena. In yet another development, NCP MLC Subhash Bhoir announced his decision to quit the party, and also, sources reveal, to join the Sena. Meanwhile, BJP may face a severe embarrassment with reports of party MLA Prakash Shendge's decision to quit all party posts. Shendge is a known supporter of Gopinath Munde.

'Join forces'
Three office bearers of city CongressĀ -- Ranjit Sonawane, Madhuri Tambe and Ruturaj MundargiĀ -- have slammed Gurudas Kamat for his opposition to any truck with the NCP. NCP leader and PWD Minsiter Chhagan Bhujbal said that the alliance should be forged to win the BMC, the lifeline of Shiv Sena and BJP, which needed to be cut off.

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