Strategising for the upcoming civic polls, the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance are in talks with the Ramdas Athavale-led Republican Party of India (PTI) for seat sharing.
The Sena-BJP combine, which governs the civic body, had joined hands with the RPI earlier this year. The RPI is backed by Dalit votes.
Athavale has asked for 40 of the 227 seats for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections, which will be held in February.
The meeting was held in Rangsharda Hall, Bandra, late least week and was attended by Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai, BJP Mumbai chief Raj Purohit and Gautam Sonawane, the Mumbai president of the RPI.
“In the preliminary meeting, it was decided that the Sena is ready to give 16 seats and the BJP will give up 7 seats to RPI candidates,” said sources from the BJP. In the last civic election, in 2007, the Sena had contested 156 seats, and BJP 71.
However, the party is not officially confirming the seat sharing deal. “We met, but there were no talks of seat sharing. We will start talks with RPI after November 5,” said Purohit.
Sonawane, on the other hand, conceded that talks were on. “But no final decision has been taken yet,” he said. Shiv Sena’s Desai also said that discussions with the RPI were taking place. “It will be announced publicly after a final decision is taken on seat sharing.”