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Congress-NCP talks may resume in two days

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, OCT. 20. The talks between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party over the leadership of the next coalition government remained stalled and are expected to resume over the next two days.

With both sides sticking to respective positions, the parties felt there was little point in holding talks without any substantial change in stance of either. The talks between the NCP-Congress, scheduled for Tuesday, were put off.

The AICC general secretary Margaret Alva, in-charge of party affairs in the State, said the talks may recommence around Dusshera. The Maharashtra Chief Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, returned to Mumbai this afternoon while the Defence Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, who was heading the talks, was visiting West Bengal.

Meanwhile, nine Independent MLAs from Maharashtra called on the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi. The Union Minister, Prithviraj Chavan, and State Minister, Kripa Shankar Singh, accompanied them. The MLAs were Harshvardhan Patil, Sanjay Deshmukh, Sadashiv Patil, Pratap Chiklikhar, Madan Patil, Satish Patil, Shivaji Naik, Ram Prasad Bardeke and Sunil Kedar. Another senior party legislator, Rohitdas Patil accompanied independent Dattu Anna Patil.

Mr. Singh told correspondents that 10 Independent MLAs were supporting the Congress of whom five had already given their letters to the Pradesh Congress chief.

The others are expected to do so soon.

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