"No new proposal has been received by the party. We stand by our original demand for 144 Assembly seats. Time is of the essence as the election process has already begun," senior NCP leader Praful Patel told.

Patel said that the meeting of the NCP Core Committee, which is to be held at around noon tomorrow, would take a "final call" on the stalemate.

His statement came even as Congress looked for ways to end the impasse with leaders from Maharashtra, including Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and PCC chief Manikrao Thakre, holding consultations with some central leaders.

There was no word from Congress on the way ahead and a section of Maharashtra leaders have been alleging that Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was the stumbling block in efforts to find a solution.

Patel, the NCP Vice President, had yesterday given Congress a day to respond on the issue of seat sharing for the October 15 Assembly polls in Maharashtra saying that his party could wait no longer.

"The filing of nominations has begun. We can wait for a day more for Congress's response on our proposal on the quantum of seats," Patel had said, though he had clarified that it was not meant to be an ultimatum.

In New Delhi, Maharashtra Congress chief Manikrao Thakre had on Sunday said they have put the ball in NCP's court and claimed that the Sharad Pawar-led party is yet to give a "positive response" to the former's proposal for seat-sharing.

After a meeting of the party's Central Election Committee (CEC) here yesterday, he had said that Congress will have to prepare for all 288 seats in the state if a response from NCP does not come within a day or two.

The CEC had held deliberations on the selection of candidates for the 174 seats in Maharashtra which the party had contested in the last Assembly polls.

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