Sharad Pawar says deal sealed with Congress on 240 Maharashtra Assembly seats

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday said his party and the Congress had come to an agreement on 240 of the 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra, polls for which are scheduled for later this year. He also said the Raj Thackeray-led MNS was mulling boycotting the Assembly polls due to reservations about Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Speaking to reporters here, Pawar added that leaders of both the principal opposition parties would now speak to other groups like the Swambhimani Paksha for the remaining of the seats. The NCP and Congress have reached an understanding on 240 seats for the state Assembly elections, he said. Pawar said seat-sharing talks will be completed and the constituency-wise list of candidates will be readied in the next few days. Speaking on the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena joining the Congress-NCP alliance, the NCP president said, I met some MNS leaders in Mumbai. Recently Raj Thackeray met Sonia Gandhi. MNS leaders have strong feelings against EVMs and they feel some decision needs to be taken in this regard. The MNS is in favour of boycotting the elections but this is not acceptable to us, he said. READ ALSO | But no one has reached a decision to boycott the elections, he said. Talking about some of his party leaders switching over to the ruling BJP and Sena, Pawar said, Those in power are misusing it and taking help of agencies such as Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax, CBI and ACB to compel leaders from other parties to join them, he said. He accused Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other ministers of the BJP of poaching leaders and said the phenomena was at work in other states like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.