In Pune, the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar) agreed to contest fewer seats than its Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies during the Lok Sabha elections. However, the scenario is expected to change in the upcoming assembly polls, according to party leader Sharad Pawar.

Pawar conducted two meetings on Friday—one with the party’s functionaries from Pune city and district and another with its MLAs and newly elected MPs. Prashant Jagtap, the chief of the city NCP (SP), attended the first meeting and reported that Pawar emphasized the importance of contesting fewer Lok Sabha seats to maintain the alliance with Shiv Sena (UBT) and Congress. Pawar hinted that the strategy for the assembly elections would be different.

During the meetings, the NCP (SP) leadership reviewed the situation in assembly segments within the Pune, Baramati, Maval, and Shirur Lok Sabha constituencies. Pawar urged the MPs and MLAs to prepare for the assembly elections.

State NCP (SP) chief Jayant Patil stated that the party has not yet decided the number of seats it will seek in the MVA seat-sharing negotiations. Regarding the candidate for the Baramati assembly seat, currently represented by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar of the rival NCP faction, Patil said that Sharad Pawar would make the final decision.

Another senior NCP (SP) leader, Anil Deshmukh, responded to a question that there was no “elder brother and younger brother” in the MVA. “All are equal,” he said.

Deshmukh also noted the nervousness among MLAs aligned with the Ajit Pawar-led faction following the Lok Sabha results, with some reaching out to NCP (SP) leaders for guidance.

In the recent Lok Sabha elections, the NCP (SP) won eight out of the ten contested seats, whereas the Ajit Pawar-led faction secured only one out of the four seats it contested.