While BJP and Shiv Sena have been slugging it out over the seat-sharing issue, their smaller allies, namely Republican Party of India (RPI), Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP) and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), are yet to decide on who they would join if the alliance were to break. They have given the top brass of the BJP-Sena time till Tuesday to resolve the issue.
The three allies said they would join the party that would offer them more seats, while the fourth ally, Shiv Sangram, is yet to comment on its stand.
“We will ally with the strongest partner. If the Sena-BJP alliance comes to an end, we will surely ally with one of the two parties,” said Raju Shetti, president, SSS. However, he added that efforts would be made till the last minute to preserve the Mahayuti. The SSS already has prepared a list of 63 constituencies it prepares to contest in case of split.
The RSP echoed the sentiment and said they had already prepared a list of 125 candidates.
RPI chief Ramdas Athawale went a step further and said he had the might to contest all 288 seats if he fought alone. “We have at least 5,000-10,000 votes in each Assembly seat. This can easily damage any candidate,” said Athawale.
In the seat-sharing formula Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray last offered to the BJP, he had proposed to share 18 seats from his quota among the four allies, which the BJP had rejected.