Maharashtra polls: BJP, Shiv Sena may announce seat-sharing deal today
The BJP and Shiv Sena are likely to announce their election strategy and a seat-sharing deal on Sunday for the assembly polls in Maharashtra scheduled for October 21 after marathon meetings between the leaders of the two parties over the week.
A senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party said on the condition of anonymity that his party will retain the ‘big brother’ status in the alliance and is expected to get around 150-155 seats to contest.
“The chief minister will be from the BJP. The Sena may get deputy chief minister’s post,” the leader quoted above said.
The Shiv Sena may get 120-125 seats to contest against its demand that the 288 assembly seats be distributed in 50:50 ratio. The Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena also wanted a rotation of the chief minister’s post, a demand that the BJP declined.
“Remaining 8-18 seats may go to allies such as RPI of Ramdas Athawale and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha of Mahadev Jankar,” the BJP leader said. “There are some other prospective allies too, but their candidates may contest the election on BJP symbol.”
The BJP’s chief Amit Shah held a marathon meeting with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and other senior party leaders from the state in Delhi on Thursday. Fadnavis also met Shah separately to discuss the possible seat-sharing formula with Shiv Sena.
The BJP is keen on reaching the clear majority in the 288-member House on its own and as such wants to contest ma.ximum number of seats possible after adjusting seats with Sena.
After playing the role of junior partner in earlier elections, the BJP broke its alliance with the Sena in 2014 after they could not arrive at an amicable division of seats.
The BJP fielded candidates in 260 out of 288 seats and won its highest ever tally of 122. The Shiv Sena, which contested on 282 seats in the last assembly election, won 63 and allied with the BJP after the poll verdict.
With the BJP’s clout growing, the Sena blew hot and cold about its alliance and decided that it will not tie up with its partner for the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.
Amit Shah, however, reached out to Uddhav Thackeray before the general elections to clinch an alliance. They then announced that both the parties had decided to contest an equal number of seats in the assembly polls.
The BJP’s central election committee is also expected to meet on Sunday to announce candidates for around 100 seats of Maharashtra.The results for the assembly elections will be declared on October 24.