New Delhi: Toughening its stand on seat sharing in Maharashtra, Congress on Monday held discussions on the prospect of contesting all the 288 assembly seats in the state alone but made it clear that it will take a decision only after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) makes its stand known on a tie-up.

“We have held discussion on all seats," said Madhusudan Mistry, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge of the Central Election Committee after a meeting of the top election body chaired by party President Sonia Gandhi discussed the issue in detail.

Mistry, however, parried questions on an alliance with the NCP, which has so far not budged from its demand of 144 of the 288 seats in Maharashtra assembly on a 50:50 formulae.

“Chief minister, PCC president, the general secretary in-charge and the high command will sit together and decide what has to be done with the alliance. I have no idea," he said when pressed on whether the Congress-NCP alliance will continue or not.

Keeping the suspense over the tie up, he said, “Ask me about seats and not alliance". To a question on how many names have been finalized and when can the first list be issued, he merely said, “We will tell you."

Sources in the party, however, said no list is likely to be announced and the party would wait for the core committee meeting of the NCP in Maharashtra. While NCP vice-president Praful Patel had on Sunday said that his party stood by its original demand for 144 assembly seats and its core committee in Mumbai will take a final call.

Maharashtra congress president Manikrao Thakre had maintained that Congress was willing to give its ally a few seats but if it remains “inclined" towards a particular number then things “will not work out".

However, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi on Monday expressed confidence that the two parties will have an alliance. “I certainly do not think that it will be a four-cornered contest. At the best it will be three-cornered because we are going to have an alliance," he said replying to questions.

State Congress leaders on Sunday held a meeting at the residence of AICC’s screening committee chairman for Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge.

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