The seat-sharing talks between the Shiv Sena and the BJP seem to be gathering momentum, after a meeting between BJP state president Devendra Fadnavis, BJP leader Om Mathur and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree on Thursday.
In an attempt to break the logjam over the seat-sharing formula, the two parties decided not to talk about a number in the beginning. Instead, the two parties will make a list of candidates who can win on the disputed seats and then discuss who has better chances of winning there. In the next meeting that might take place on Saturday, both will come with their list for discussion. Thursday’s discussions come in the wake of a brief meeting between Thackeray and BJP national president Amit Shah last week.
Traditionally, Sena has been contesting around 50 seats more than the BJP in the Assembly polls, but after the Lok Sabha polls, where the BJP won 23 seats and Sena 18, the former has been demanding equal number of seats. The Sena has been reluctant, considering the party with a majority of seats will get the post of the chief minister.
“The idea is to draw up a list of candidates who will surely win and the seats for smaller allies. Once this is done, we will start the distribution of the remaining seats, which should be over by next week,” a senior Sena leader, who was present at the meeting, said.
However, BJP leaders claim they want equal sharing of seats, a formula put forth by Shah last week.
“The matter is about how we share seats with smaller allies from our respective quota. We are still demanding an equal right and want to solve the issue as early as possible. If we don’t reach a consensus, the issue will go to the BJP high command,” said a BJP leader.
Meanwhile, the BJP has asked all its MPs to ensure the victory of party candidates in their respective Lok Sabha regions. Each MP will be held responsible for the upsets.