Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena are likely to announce the seat-sharing formula for Maharashtra elections this week, but the alliance parties are yet to conclude their seat-sharing talks for the 21 October Assembly elections.
According to CNN-News18, the Shiv Sena is keen to announce the allocation of seats likely by 29 September. The report quoted sources as saying that the two parties seem to have reached an impasse as both are also preparing to contest alone if an agreement is not reached soon.
Senior leaders from both the parties indicated that differences are narrowed down to just five seats, with the final seat-sharing formula likely to be in the range of 120-125 seats for the Sena and remaining 168 to 163 seats for the BJP and smaller allies, reported Hindustan Times.
While the BJP is keen on contesting on at least 150 seats on its own, the saffron party has offered Shiva Sena not more than 120 seats. However, India Today reported that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party was batting for an equal seat share.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut weighed in on the matter and slammed the media for being more worried about the alliance rather than the Shiv Sena or BJP themselves. "We never gave a 24-hour ultimatum, we said that the next 24 hours will be crucial and the chief minister has also spoken about the alliance," he said.
He further went on to say, "Had we (Shiv Sena) sat in the Opposition instead of being in government the picture today would have been different. Whatever we decide on seats we'll let you know."
In a late-night development on Monday, sources stated that there would be no announcement about a formal pre-poll pact on Tuesday. This announcement came hours after a senior BJP leader, on condition of anonymity, said the two saffron allies have finalised a seat-sharing arrangement and a formal announcement will be made at a joint press meet on Tuesday.
The press meet in Mumbai was to be addressed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. However, the Sena did not confirm holding such a joint media conference with the BJP when contacted by PTI.
Later on Monday night, senior Sena leader Anil Parab told PTI no such announcement will take place on Tuesday. The decision of the BJP-Sena (on seat-sharing) will be announced once the talks are over.
Parab is also the leader of the house in the Maharashtra Legislative Council.
Shiv Sena's denial about finalising a seat-sharing pact was later confirmed by top state BJP leadership as well.
When asked whether any formal announcement about the BJP-Sena alliance for the Assembly polls is going to take place on Tuesday, a second BJP leader replied in the negative. He said, "No such announcement will take place tomorrow."
Maharashtra has 288 seats in the Lower House of which BJP had won 122 and the Sena 63 in the 2014 Assembly election, which they had fought separately.
A few months later, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party joined the government led by Fadnavis, the first BJP chief minister of Maharashtra.
The saffron allies are locked in an intense negotiation on seat-sharing and a consensus has eluded them till now on how many constituencies each of them will contest.
The Shiv Sena has been insisting on 50:50 division of seats, but the BJP does not appear to be amiable to this deal. If an alliance formalises, the two parties also have to accommodate smaller allies who are part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Addressing a rally in Mumbai on Sunday, BJP president Amit Shah had lauded Fadnavis for his performance over the last five years and asserted he will continue to hold the coveted post after elections, which he claimed, the NDA will win with a three-fourth majority.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Sep 24, 2019 14:54:35 IST