BJP-Sena alliance on, but parties in no rush to declare seat sharing figures
It is likely that Fadnavis and Thackeray may visit Delhi, meet BJP president Amit Shah, to finalize the deal.Updated: Sep 24, 2019 21:53 IST
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena are said to be in the final stages of deciding their seat sharing formula for the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls. But, the saffron allies may not be in a rush to declare the seat sharing details as the parties would prefer to announce their candidates just ahead of filing the nominations.
“The alliance talks are in the final stages. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray are discussing the details and the alliance will be finalized soon,’’ said state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil.
Besides the formula, the talks are stuck over swapping of certain seats as well as distribution of certain Opposition leaders, who have approached both the parties.
So far, around 18 Opposition legislators have joined the Sena and BJP and another five to six MLAs are in talks with both the parties.
“The alliance is on and talks are also in the final stages but we would prefer to declare our candidates a little late to avoid upsetting other aspirants or leading to any defections. The alliance will be formally announced post September 26,’’ said a senior BJP leader.
It is likely that Fadnavis and Thackeray may visit Delhi, meet BJP president Amit Shah, to finalize the deal.
The top leaders from both the parties have reiterated that they will contest the polls together, but they have not been able to arrive at a seat sharing formula. The Shiv Sena had claimed an equal number of seats from the BJP but the latter is now unwilling to concede to this demand. Earlier, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the saffron allies had finalized a deal on grounds of equal seat sharing as well as equal sharing of ministerial portfolios.
But, after the BJP’s one sided sweep in the Lok Sabha polls, the ruling party is refusing to stick to its end of the bargain.
After several back channel talks and formal discussions, the BJP has made this clear and offered 120-123 seats to Sena, which the latter has not been willing to accept. It is now learnt that besides the seats, the BJP will offer the Sena the deputy chief minister’s post as well as an increased share in the ministerial portfolios from current 10 to around 14.
Such a formula would give the BJP and its smaller allies 168 to 165 seats. The BJP plans to hand over only 8 to 10 seats to its smaller allies and contest on 158 to 155 seats on its own. The, BJP leaders feel that this will give them a chance to reach the majority (145 seats) in the state assembly on their own.
Sena MP and editor of the party mouthpiece Sanjay Raut said, “Maharashtra is big, so this division of 288 seats is a more complex exercise than even Partition of the country. When it happens, we will inform the media.”
Raut also added that if the Sena had post 2014 decided to sit in the Opposition the current situation would have been different. Patil, when asked to respond to this statement said, “No point in discussing what would have happened if they had sat in the Opposition when they didn’t.”