Sena, BJP lock horns on seat sharing deal

The BJP, sources said, is unwilling to the Sena's proposal of contetsing on equal number of seats and sharing the chief minister's post.

New Delhi: With the Maharashtra Assembly elections approaching, ruling partners — the BJP and Shiv Sena seems to have locked horns over the seat sharing formula.

The BJP, sources said, is unwilling to the Sena’s proposal of contetsing on equal number of seats and sharing the chief minister’s post.

However, the BJP — the “big brother” in the alliance — is willing to give the deputy chief minister’s post to the Sena, amid speculation that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray will make his electoral debut this assembly polls.

Sources disclosed that the BJP wants both allies to contest the seats they had won during last polls in 2014 and “equally” distribute the nearly 103 seats which both failed to win last time. Of these 103 seats, BJP-Sena’s smaller allies will also get their share.

Of the total 288 Assembly seats, the BJP had won 122 and the Sena had won 63 seats last time when both had contested separately as they had failed to agree on the seat sharing formula.

Though the Sena had been under pressure from its cadre to push for equal number of seats to contest, the BJP camp is unwilling to accede to its ally’s demand.

A section within the Sena, it was learnt, has even suggested to contest alone if an agreement is not reached over the seat sharing formula however, the Sena top brass is also aware of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and the growing support base of the BJP in the state, where the Sena was the “big brother” until the last Assembly polls. Also, even after the Sena had joined the Fadnavis government post-poll, the BJP leadership had told its cadre to prepare on all 288 assembly seats as the Sena leadership was seething over the chief minister’s post going to the BJP. The Sena had on various occasions criticised the previous Modi led central government and also ally BJP.

While talks between the two allies over the seat-sharing formula have begun, the BJP camp is waiting for the conclusion of Mr Fadnavis’s ongoing reach-out campaign, to take a final call on the issue.

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