Mumbai, September 15: Differences have emerged between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally Shiv Sena over seat-sharing ahead of the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections, due in October. According to reports, the Shiv Sena wants an equal number of seats, whereas the BJP is keen to contest more number of seats than its ally. The BJP is vouching for 160-170 seats out of the 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra. Congress, NCP Further Seat-Sharing Talks, Unlikely to Accommodate Bahujan Vanchit Aghadi.
Before sealing alliance for the Lok Sabha elections, both the BJP and Shiv Sena had agreed to contest an equal number of seats in the Maharashtra Assembly elections. However, with the BJP returning to power at the Centre with a bigger mandate, a section of the party leaders believes the political scenario has changed in the state. Therefore, the terms of engagement with the ally should be renegotiated, they say. Ramdas Athawale Demands BJP-Shiv Sena to Allot 10 Seats to RPI For Contesting in Maharashtra Assembly Elections 2019.
The BJP has conveyed to the Shiv Sena that after taking out the seats that the two parties had won in 2014, the remaining seats will be distributed equally, India Today reported. This will leave Uddhav Thackeray's party with around 115 seats. In the 2014 assembly elections, Shiv Sena had won 63 seats, while BJP had bagged 123 seats. The Shiv Sena, however, is not in favour of contesting a lesser number of seats than the BJP.
The Thackeray-led party pointed to the fact that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had promised before the Lok Sabha elections that seat distribution for assembly polls will be equal for both the partners. The two parties had failed to reach an agreement on the seat-sharing pact and contested polls separately. Shiv Sena was even ready to take a cut of 20 seats but was not ready to go down below 150.
However, the BJP had rejected the idea. So far there has been no official word from either of the party about the number of seats they want to contest. Recently, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil had also indicated that his party might not settle for 135 seats as the saffron party wanted to accommodate rebels from other parties and in view of its growing footprint.