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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

No seat-sharing formula for Sena-BJP yet

Talks are stuck as BJP is unwilling to concede equal number of seats and Sena has refused so far to accept anything less than that

mumbai Updated: Sep 12, 2019 03:25 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Mumbai
Despite parleys being held between state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, state water resources minister Girish Mahajan and Sena’s Subhash Desai from last month, the talks haven’t led to any agreement, admitted a senior BJP leader.
Despite parleys being held between state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, state water resources minister Girish Mahajan and Sena’s Subhash Desai from last month, the talks haven’t led to any agreement, admitted a senior BJP leader.(PTI image)
         

Days ahead of the code of conduct for the Assembly polls slated in October, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena are yet to work out their seat-sharing formula. The talks have been stuck as the BJP is unwilling to concede equal number of seats and the Shiv Sena has refused so far to accept anything less than that.

While the BJP has pointed to its 2014 Assembly polls tally (122 seats as against Sena’s 63 seats) and the overwhelming mandate in Lok Sabha polls to up its seat share, the Sena has referred to the alliance agreement made in the presence of BJP chief Amit Shah ahead of Lok Sabha polls. The understanding as per the deal then was that the BJP-Sena would split Assembly seats equally, after leaving a portion of seats for its smaller allies like the Republican Party of India, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Jan Surajya party.

Despite parleys being held between state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, state water resources minister Girish Mahajan and Sena’s Subhash Desai from last month, the talks haven’t led to any agreement, admitted a senior BJP leader.

“We have sitting 122 legislators and we will get another 10 legislators from Opposition parties. So, technically we have 132-odd sitting seats with us, so why should we limit ourselves to contesting only 135 seats. The Sena has only 63 legislators, even if they poach from other parties they can’t increase their sitting seats tally to more than 80,” he said, explaining why BJP wants a greater share.

This leader as well other senior leaders from both the parties, however, admitted that the alliance would happen and this logjam could only be resolved by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

A senior BJP minister opined that the allies would settle for a formula, where the BJP gets 168-162 seats and the Sena would contest 120-126 seats. “In our quota of 160+ seats, we will also give seats to our smaller allies. That is our outlook,’’ he said.

So far, there have been talks about leaving 18 seats for the smaller parties, but this has also not been finalised. The BJP is likely to reduce the seats being given to smaller parties to increase its share of seats.

Last month, one of the seniormost state BJP leaders had suggested that allies hold a friendly contest in 103 seats, keeping aside those won by each of the parties as a compromise. However, Fadnavis had ruled out such an alternative, saying contest in 100 seats cannot be “friendly”.

Both Fadnavis and Thackeray have through seat-sharing hiccups reiterated the allies will contest polls together. “In 2014, the alliance broke, but we got together after that. We were in alliance before (pre 2014) and will continue to have it in the future,” said Thackeray, addressing party workers in a function in Thane on Wednesday.

State finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told a local Marathi news channel that the alliance details would be finalised within the coming week.

First Published: Sep 12, 2019 00:40 IST