Congress and NCP leaders met today to discuss on contesting together the forthcoming Maharashtra Legislative Council elections for 11 seats from local bodies, graduates and teachers constituencies. The term of members from these seats ends on December 5. Of the total 11 seats, NCP has the maximum five, while Congress, BJP and Independents have two each. Prominent among the 11 retiring members is Minister of State for Home, Ranjit Patil of the BJP. Preliminary talks between leaders of Congress and NCP were held before the Ganpati festival. Today the second meeting was held in which state unit chiefs of both parties--Ashok Chavan and Sunil Tatkare-- AICC general secretary Mohan Prakash, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and senior NCP leader Praful Patel attended. "Nothing has been finalised as yet.
We are working on it," Chavan told PTI. When asked about Congress announcing its candidates in Amravati graduates and Nashik Graduates, Chavan said NCP has not claimed these two seats. When contacted, Tatkare said, "We discussed at length the political situation in the 11 constituencies and how best we can win maximum seats. We will discuss with our respective central leadership and meet again soon to finalise the seat sharing." The NCP has sitting members in teachers constituency of Aurangabad, and local bodies constituencies in Sangli-Satara, Bhandara-Gondia local bodies, Yavatmal and Pune. Congress has Nashik graduates and Nanded Local bodies, BJP has Jalgaon local bodies and Amravati graduates, while two Independents hold Nagpur teachers and Konkan teachers seats. The elections are important for ruling BJP to improve its tally in the Upper House of Legislature while NCP seeks to retain its position as the single largest party in the House. Congress is keen to have at least one out of the three seats held by the NCP -- Sangli-Satara local bodies, Bhandara-Gondia local bodies and Yavatmal local bodies -- as it feels it has a good chance to win. To a question on whether Congress has made such a demand, Tatkare said, "they can ask. But, we will discuss with our leader Sharad Pawar.
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