BJP To Contest 144, Sena 126 Seats: Sources in Maharashtra
MUMBAI :The Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena have come to an agreement over the seat-sharing formula for the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections 2019. Shiv Sena has accepted the Bharatiya Janata Party’s offer of 126 seats, sources said. As per the pre-poll alliance, the BJP will now contest on 144 seats, while remaining 18 seats will be given other alliance partners.
If the alliance comes back to power, the BJP will keep the CM’s post, which is likely to be retained by incumbent CM Devendra Fadnavis, and will give the deputy CM post to Shiv Sena. In 2014 polls, Shiv Sena had contested on 282 seats and won 63, while the BJP had contested on 260 and scored victory on 122.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena will contest the Maharashtra state elections together and have come to an understanding on seat division that gives the lion’s share to the BJP. The BJP will contest 144 of the state’s 288 seats.
With less than a month to go for the polls, the ruling alliance came to an understanding after an internal meeting of the BJP earlier today, where party chief Amit Shah and Working President JP Nadda took a call on the issue.
The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the party’s core committee for the state — including Pankaja Munde, Sudhir Munghantiwar and state leaders like Girish Mahajan.
With the Sena aiming for a 50:50 divide a section of state leaders were in favour of ending the alliance and having the BJP go on its own. Given the party’s showing in the state in the Lok Sabha election, there were expectations that unlike the 2014 state elections, the party will achieve majority on its own.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, however, was in favour of the continuing the alliance and earlier this week, and had told reports that it was on. The Sena was not keen to break off the alliance either, but was preparing for that eventuality in view of the state BJP leaders’ views.
In 2014, the Sena and the BJP had ended their alliance ahead of the state elections, only to get back together after the state had delivered a split verdict. The BJP had turned out to be the single largest party, but fell far short of a majority.
Meanwhile, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) sounded poll bugle for the Lok Sabha elections and announced the seat-sharing formula for Maharashtra. The Congress will contest on 26 while the NCP will contest on 22 seats in the state. The ‘Maha Agahdi’ or the grand alliance consists of over 56 political parties and outfits. Congress and NCP are the major political parties in the alliance.
The seat-sharing formula was announced in a joint press conference in Mumbai on Saturday. Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan and Nationalist Congress Party’s Ajit Pawar were present along with other leaders.
“BJP uses Sam-Dam-Dand-Bhed. People of Maharashtra will teach a lesson to Sena-BJP. People are angry. Sena-BJP made them fight each other. People like Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote were set free even after Bhima-Koregaon riots. Businesses are shutting down. Farmers are committing suicide even two years of loan waiver announcement,” said Ashok Chavan
“Whatever happens, BJP needs to be dethroned, we tried to include as many parties from Maharashtra in our fold but some of them are acting as a B-team of the BJP,” said Ajit Pawar. Ajit Pawar’s words were an apparent reference to Prakash Ambedkar’s BRP-Bahujan Mahasangh and AIMIM.
Former Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil was conspicuous by his absence in press conference. His son Sujay Vikhe joined BJP recently and even has been given Lok Sabha ticket from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra.
The Swabhimani Shetkari Paksha, which had fought elections alongside BJP in 2014, has joined forces with Congress-NCP this time around. Congress has kept 1 seat for the party from its own quota of 26 seats. Raju Shetty, the leader of the Swabhimani Shetkari Paksha (SSP) is a current MP. The party has been allotted another seat from NCP’s quota.( With Agency Inputs ).