BJP, Shiv Sena look to iron out differences over seats in Maharashtra2 min read . Updated: 23 Sep 2019, 01:22 AM IST
- Shiv Sena leaders have maintained that they will not settle for anything less than 135 seats out of the total 288
- Several senior BJP leaders in Maharashtra believe that since BJP already has 122 members of legislative assembly because the party had contested a majority number of seats alone in the previous assembly elections in 2014
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is likely to announce this week a seat-sharing formula for Maharashtra elections although the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena, the two main coalition partners in the state, are still to agree on how many seats each party will contest, two people familiar with the development said.
While the Shiv Sena leadership has insisted that the two allies contest an equal number of seats, there is a growing section within the BJP’s Maharashtra unit which believes that sharing seats equally may not benefit the party and there should be a rethink.
Although the first round of talks between the two parties have already been carried out by the president of Maharashtra unit of BJP Chandrakant Patil and state cabinet minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, Shiv Sena leaders have maintained that they will not settle for anything less than 135 seats out of the total 288.
On Sunday, Union home minister Amit Shah said at an election rally in Mumbai that the NDA will win “three-fourth majority" in Maharashtra polls. At a time when the seat-sharing deal was being finalized, Shah also said Devendra Fadnavis will continue to be the chief minister after elections.
“In Maharashtra, the NDA (BJP, Sena and smaller allies) will have a three-fourth majority (in the 288-member House)," he said, avoiding mention of the Sena.
Several senior BJP leaders in Maharashtra believe that since BJP already has 122 members of legislative assembly because the party had contested a majority number of seats alone in the previous assembly elections in 2014. Members of the BJP argue that a solution to the problem could be that BJP and Shiv Sena can retain their 122 and 63 seats respectively while remaining 103 seats can get divided equally between the two alliance partners.+
Interestingly, the announcement of election dates comes just a day after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray held a press conference in Mumbai on Friday. Thackeray indicated that while BJP and Shiv Sena will jointly contest the state polls, there was still discussion on the seat-sharing formula. He said that prior to the Lok Sabha polls, there was detailed talks and the two parties had decided to contest both the Lok Sabha and assembly polls on equal number of seats.
This is not the first time that there has been a difference of opinion between the BJP and Sena. The two parties had parted ways just before the previous assembly elections on the issue of seat-sharing. However, Sena continued to remain in the alliance nationally.
Before the 2019 general elections also, Sena had a passed a resolution that the party would contest all elections alone. However, the two parties contested the polls together.