Union Agriculture Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar met party leaders in Maharashtra on Monday to discuss probable candidates for the elections.

The meeting was held at Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar's official residence and was attended by all party leaders and ministers.

State NCP president Bhaskar Jadhav said majority of the sitting MPs would be retained.

"Since Sharad Pawar is not seeking re-election, a new candidate will be selected for Maadha Lok Sabha seat. Barring three to four seats, we have almost reached consensus on the list of candidates," he said, adding that the final list of NCP candidates would be announced on January 21.

"We hope to have a meeting with Congress leaders regarding swapping of few seats before January 21," he said.

Jadhav expressed confidence that the NCP will double its number of seats than the previous time. In 2009, the party won eight out of the 22 seats it contested.

He said it was in the interest of the Congress-NCP coalition to announce the names of candidates at the earliest so that preparations can begin to ensure victory.

Jadhav said it would announce its list of candidates even if there was no meeting with the Congress.

As part of the preparations for the Lok Sabha polls, Pawar apprised the meeting of the political situation in the country and strategies that the party needs to adopt.

Meanwhile, party sources said Ajit Pawar will not contest the Lok Sabha polls. However, names of ministers like Chhagan Bhujbal, Jayant Patil, Ganesh Naik, Suresh Dhas and Jaidutt Kshirsagar are being considered.


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