Maharashtra polls: BJP, Shiv Sena move closer to sealing the seat-sharing formula
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena have been working behind the scenes to sort out the tussle over the seat-sharing formula.
Senior leaders from both the parties, including chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and senior Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai, held a round of negotiations this week.
Senior leaders from both the parties indicated that differences were narrowed down to just five seats now, with the final seat-sharing formula likely to be in the range of 120-125 seats for the Sena and remaining 168 to 163 seats for the BJP and smaller allies.
The smaller allies, who were promised 18 seats, however may now get around 10.
The BJP is keen on contesting on at least 150 seats on its own to get as close to the majority mark of 145 out of the 288 seats in the state Assembly.
It is learnt that Fadnavis has indicated to the Sena that it cannot offer the party more than 120 seats. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is negotiating for a tally of 126.
Overall, the Sena is likely to accept the formula in this range as it can still get to contest almost twice the number of seats it won in the 2014 elections against the BJP, which will contest on around 30 more seats.
The BJP won 122 seats, while the Sena had won 63 seats in the 2014 polls.
There has also been discussion over swapping of certain seats and which seats should go to which party.
“The seat-sharing formula is nearly finalised. But we are not in a rush as announcing our seat-sharing formula as well as candidates may lead to some unhappiness in certain seats,” said a senior BJP leader.
Meanwhile, no official review meetings were held by BJP president Amit Shah on his visit to the city. However, several senior BJP leaders, including Fadnavis, Patil, state education minister Ashish Shelar, met Shah after the seminar on abrogation of Article 370 for Kashmir.