Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar on Monday announced that the party will contest the upcoming Maharashtra Legislative Assembly elections in alliance with the Congress. Pawar said that the seat-sharing agreement between the two parties had also been finalised and they will contest 125 seats each, PTI reported.

According to this pact, 38 remaining seats will be given to other allies, Pawar tweeted. He also said that his party will give a chance to new faces in the elections and added that a few seats will be swapped with the Congress.

The Maharashtra Assembly has 288 seats, elections for which are due later this year.

The two parties had contested the 2014 state polls separately after NCP had broken the alliance with the Congress due to disagreement over seat-sharing. In the 2014 Assembly elections, Congress had secured 42 seats and the NCP won 41 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party then came out as the single-largest party with a majority of 122 seats.

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Over the last few months, however, around 24 leaders quit both the Congress and NCP to join the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the states. The list included 13 MLAs and 10 former ministers. Former NCP MP from Satara Udayanraje Bhosale was one of the leaders who joined the saffron party on Saturday.

Pawar on Saturday had called the defectors “cowards” and said that people will show them their place in the elections, according to PTI. He also criticised Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for visiting the flood-affected areas only once.

“They are cowards...people of Maharashtra will take care of such people in elections,” Pawar said. “There are some people who have lost their self-respect and switched to the BJP.”

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