With the BJP adamant that it will not contest on less than 153 seats, Sena is left with a maximum of 117 seats.
The remaining 18 seats will be divided equally, with each party taking nine to accommodate candidates representing smaller allies, including the Republican Party of India and Rashtriya Samaj Party.
“The seat-sharing negotiation between BJP and Sena is still under discussion. There is deadlock over both the formula and seats. But the BJP has made it clear there was no question of 50:50 seat-sharing deal. The BJP will contest more seats than Sena in the Assembly polls,” a top source in the BJP said.
The source said that while BJP president Amit Shah and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were committed to a pre-poll alliance with the Sena, the demand for 135 seats by the latter was a “unreasonable”, and based on the results of 2014 Assembly polls, the Sena’s share was only 117 seats.
The BJP, the source said, had electorally expanded, and thus “actually deserved a larger share of the 171 seats, but was willing to settle for 153”.
A formal decision on the pre-poll alliance is likely once Fadnavis concludes the third phase of Mahajanadesh Yatra on September 19, party sources said. In 2014, Assembly elections the BJP and Sena has separately contested the polls. The Congress and the NCP also had contested separately.
In the multi-cornered contest, the BJP won 122 seats, Sena 63 seats, Congress 42 seats and NCP 41 seats. The smaller parties and Independent candidates together grabbed 20 seats.