A day after Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah spoke of a resolution that respects both alliance partners, state BJP leaders Eknath Khadse and Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Friday evening that the party is keen to keep the alliance intact and was set to send a fresh proposal to the Shiv Sena.
Mungantiwar, former state BJP president, refused to reveal the new seat-sharing formula proposed, but said the Sena’s offer of 119 seats for the BJP was not acceptable.
It appears that the proposal would coax the Shiv Sena to give up a few of the 59 Assembly constituencies that the latter has never won while also indicating the BJP’s willingness to climb down a little from its previous demand of 135 seats.
The seat-sharing arrangement between the two parties has hit stalemate with the BJP having suggested that both allies contest 135 seats each and leave the remaining 18 seats in the 288-member Assembly for the smaller alliance members. The Shiv Sena has said it will contest a minimum of 150 seats and late Thursday night offered the BJP 119 seats.
Khadse, Leader of the Opposition in the Vidhan Sabha, said there should be fresh thinking on the 59 seats that the Shiv Sena has “never won in 25 years”. He said, “Instead of allowing these to add to the Congress-NCP tally, they could give us some of these seats.”
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, both leaders said categorically that the BJP remains committed to ensuring that the Mahayuti (grand alliance) survives. Using the terms Shah used in his speech at Pankaja Munde Palve’s rally in Chondi, Ahmednagar district, Khadse and Mungantiwar said the seat-sharing agreement should be “samadhaan” as well as “samman” – resolution and respect.
“We have always been committed to the alliance, including when our alliance partner spoke of elevating Sharad Pawar and when they decided in favour of Pratibha Patil’s appointment as president of the country,” said Mungantiwar. “Our feeling is clear, we are in favour of an alliance… We hope the Shiv Sena will respond positively to our new proposal.”
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