If a Shiv Sena leader is to be believed, the party may agree to contest 135 of the total 288 seats in alliance with the BJP for the Maharashtra Assembly polls but wanted the senior NDA partner to accommodate the smaller allies.
The Sena was reportedly adamant on contesting 144 seats and also demanded a revolving chief ministership in the event of the NDA returning to power once again.
Though a formal seat-sharing deal between the saffron allies is yet to be finalised, political circles are abuzz with various mathematical combinations over the hassling to seal the deal.
“The BJP and the Sena may accept a formula to contest 135 seats each and leave 18 seats for smaller allies like the RPI(A), the Rashtriya Samaj Paksh and the Shiv Sangram Party,” the senior leader told PTI on Tuesday.
However, a catch is that the Sena wanted the BJP to allot 18 seats to smaller allies from its own quota reasoning that they are partners of the BJP. If the BJP were to accommodate this demand, which is unlikely, the party will get to contest only 117 seats.
“The Sena may accept allotment of 18 seats for BJP’s allies as part of an electoral adjustment. Let the BJP give 18 seats to the smaller allies from their quota,” he said.
Complicating the matters for the BJP, RPI(A) leader and Union Minister Ramdas Athavale, RSP leader and state minister Mahadev Jankar and Vinayak Mete of the Shiv Sangram Party have refused to accept the party’s demand to contest the assembly polls on BJP tickets.
As per reports, poll managers of the BJP are demanding more than 135 seats to accommodate leaders from Opposition parties and its “growing political might”. In the 2014 assembly elections, which both the parties contested separately, the BJP won 122 seats and the Sena 63.
The 2019 polls are slated to be held in October. Last Saturday, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray shared dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai and announced that the saffron alliance for polls was “inevitable”.
The seat-sharing formula of 135 seats each was first mooted by state BJP unit president Chandrakant Patil a few months ago.
However, the Sena claims that BJP president Amit Shah and Fadnavis had struck an understanding with Thackeray agreeing to Sena’s demand for 144 seats and the CM post for a period of 2.5 years in the five-year term.