Notwithstanding its wrangling with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) over allocation of seats for the upcoming state Assembly elections, the Maharashtra unit of Congress will start conducting interviews of aspirants from Sunday as per the seat-sharing formula of 2009.
"The interviews will be conducted by the election committee headed by state unit chief Manikrao Thakre on August 17, 19 and 20," a Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) release said in Mumbai on Thursday.
The interviews will be conducted for aspirants of 174 constituencies under the Congress quota, as per the 2009 formula. Congress had contested 174 seats in 2009 while its alliance partner, NCP 114.
Currently, both the parties have locked horns over the number of seats they want to contest in the upcoming elections, due in October, with the Sharad Pawar-led NCP raising its stake demanding equal number of seats to contest.
"After the seat-sharing talks with NCP are concluded, decision on other constituencies would be taken," the release added.
The election committee, announced on Wednesday, comprises chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, AICC general secretaries Mukul Wasnik and Gurudas Kamat, and former chief ministers Sushilkumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan and Narayan Rane, among other leaders. The MPCC has asked the aspirants not to bring any recommendations supporting their candidature.
"Only those aspirants who have submitted their forms before the stipulated time of August 11 will be called in for interviews," MPCC spokesman Sachin Sawant said.
To a question on the number of applications received, he said the compilation work was in progress.