The Shiv Sena and BJP, the two biggest constituents of the Mahayuti (grand alliance) in Maharashtra, Friday agreed to contest the upcoming Assembly polls unitedly and show flexibility in accommodating smaller allies like Raju Shetty-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Rastriya Samaj Party and the RPI.
SSS and Rashtriya Samaj Party have influence in areas like Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara, where the Sena has a bigger share of seats compared to the BJP. RPI has influence in dalit-dominated constituencies in Mumbai and parts of Marathwada.
After a meeting between the Shiv Sena and his party, state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said, “The BJP and Shiv Sena have decided to contest together.”
“A review of 288 Assembly constituencies was undertaken at the meeting. We have agreed to give due representation to all the alliance partners commensurate with their electoral strength in their respective regions. The details will be discussed further in the meeting on July 28,” he added.
The meeting was not attended by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who represented his party among others at the meeting, said, “The more significant was the decision to continue as alliance partners in the Assembly polls. It was decided that every constituent supporting the BJP would be honourably treated in the grand alliance.”
Both parties are said to have agreed that the subject of chief ministerial candidate will not be discussed till the election results.
Since 1989 to 2009 Assembly elections, the Sena used to contest 171 seats and BJP 117 seats. In 2009, there was a slight change, with Sena contesting 169 seats and BJP 119 seats. The total number of seats in the state Assembly is 288.