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Maharashtra CM issue resolution by Sunday

Source: PTI
October 23, 2004 16:31 IST
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The week-long deadlock between Congress and Nationalist Congress Party over the post of Maharashtra chief minister is expected to be resolved by Sunday.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday discussed the issue at a two-hour long meeting with senior party colleagues.

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"Ninety per cent will be resolved today and ten per cent tomorrow," Ahmed Patel, political secretary to the Congress chief, told reporters after the meeting at Gandhi's 10, Janpath residence. He denied the Congress has decided to give the post to the NCP.

Besides Patel, Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, who is the Congress' chief negotiator on the issue, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Arjun Singh attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, Republican Party of India (Athavale) president Ramdas Athavale met NCP chief Sharad Pawar and suggested that the Congress and NCP follow the Jammu and Kashmir pattern of sharing the top post for two-and-half years each.

Patel said that Congress leaders would discuss the issue with Pawar on Saturday evening.

The issue came to the fore after NCP emerged as the single largest party after the assembly election result was announced on October 16.

The NCP won 71 seats while Congress got 69. However, Congress now has 68 MLAs in the assembly following the death of newly elected Nagpur South legislator Govindrao Wanjari on Sunday.

The NCP demanded the top post from alliance partner Congress leading to the first round of talks on the issue on October 18.

The Congress insists that it should retain the post citing that it had allotted seats to the Communist Party of India-Marxist, which won three seats in the assembly.

The concerned leaders took a three-day break as Mukherjee went to Kolkata for the Durga Puja festival. Talks were scheduled to resume on Saturday.
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