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'It takes a Congressman to beat a Congressman'

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In 1999 the two parties contested separately and so all aspirants were happy.

Not so this time.

Also, last time the NCP got 36 seats in the area and the Congress came second with 18; the Shiv Sena won nine and its alliance partner BJP registered victory in five seats.

So when the Congress and NCP came to the negotiating table this time, the latter walked away with all the cream.

This has left local Congress leaders worried, who fear that by the time the next elections come around, the party will cease to exist in the sugar belt.

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