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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Posturing for seats sees BJP toughen stand against Sena

Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 03, 2014
First Published: 00:23 IST(3/9/2014) | Last Updated: 01:52 IST(3/9/2014)

For past two weeks, a tussle is on between the Shiv Sena and the BJP with the erstwhile small brother — the BJP — mounting pressure on the former to revise the existing seat-sharing agreement and concede more assembly seats.

While Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena is refusing to yield, the BJP is determined to rework the formula which is currently tilted in Sena’s favour. At the heart of BJP’s insistence on getting half of the 288 assembly seats is not just the fact that the party won more seats (23) than Sena (18) in recent Lok Sabha polls but some number crunching.

Statistical data of the past five assembly elections from 1990 to 2009 shows that BJP has always had a higher strike rate than the Sena. Its average strike rate for these elections has been 46.4%, almost 10 percentage points more than the Sena which has a 35.6% average rate. The strike rate is the ratio of number of seats a party has won over the number it contested.

In other words, it could also mean the BJP is in a better position to win more seats if it gets a chance to contest more, according to party strategists.

Similarly, as per the election commission report of all the five years, the BJP has also managed to get more number of votes in each constituency that they have won.

For a long time, the BJP has been forced to play a second fiddle to the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra despite having a performance rate in the polls.

Things, however, are changing now with a strong leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre, a recent victory, and a more malleable Sena, the BJP does not want to lose its chance to gain power in Maharashtra.

For now, the BJP has asked the Shiv Sena with 15 more seats from its share, and hasn’t got any response from the other end. But Shiv Sena sources claim that the BJP does not have the network and reach that they have throughout the state, because of which they always fought more seats.


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