Mumbai: In spite of an agreement between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena to fight on a 50-50 formula of seats in Maharashtra Assembly elections, the BJP is eager to contest more number of seats than its ally.
The BJP is keen on fighting more number of seats than Shiv Sena after the changed political conditions in the country and the state after the 2019 Lok Sabha election results.
In February, the then BJP President and current Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Shiv Sena chief Udbhav Thackeray had sealed their deal of Lok Sabha seat-sharing on the condition of 50-50 formula in the state election. But with the saffron party returning to power at the Centre with a bigger mandate than before and the recent decision on Article 370 had made many in the party believed that the party stands advantageous in this election season.
However, recently, Maharashtra BJP President Chandrakant Patil had given a hint the BJP may not settle for 50-50 formula and will try to negotiate the deal.
While the alliance partners held their first seat-sharing meeting a week ago, sources say that the BJP has offered Shiv Sena 106-110 and has end up with 160-164 seats for itself. But so far there has been no official word from either of the party about the number of seats they want to contest. Both the parties will have few more rounds of meetings over the seat sharing and soon by the end of the week, the air will be clear. BJP working president JP Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray would be having a meeting too to discuss the seat sharing issues by the end of the week. It is also learnt that the other allies of both the parties will have to settle down for 18 seats only.
Discussions are still on with the remaining allies, Republican Party of India led by Union Minister Ramdas Athawale, Rashtriya Samaj Party and Shivsangram. Although, BJP had proposed them to fight under the lotus symbol but all the three have refused the offer.
The Assembly has a total of 288 seats. Last time both the parties had fought the election separately as they could not reach a seat sharing deal. In 2014, the BJP won 122 seats while the Shiv Sena had 63 seats.
Lately, it is also seen that the Shiv Sena has been criticizing the BJP government, both in the centre and the state over various issues of Economy downfall, farmers issue, cutdown of aarey. It is also seen more as a Sena traffic to mount some pressure on BJP on the seat sharing issue.