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Sena to keep Assembly seat for Mahajan daughter

The Shiv Sena has in principle agreed to part with an Assembly seat from Mumbai to enable Poonam Mahajan....

Written by Pradeep Kaushal | New Delhi | Published: July 18, 2009 4:28:21 am

The Shiv Sena has in principle agreed to part with an Assembly seat from Mumbai to enable Poonam Mahajan,daughter of late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan,to contest the coming Maharashtra elections.

Sources in the Sena disclosed on Friday that Poonam’s uncle and BJP general secretary Gopinath Munde had made a request for an additional Mumbai seat to the Sena leadership. “We will not turn down such a request for Pramodji’s daughter,” the sources said. At present 22 of the 34 Mumbai seats are allotted to the Shiv Sena. Munde has held two rounds of seat-sharing talks with senior Sena leaders Manohar Joshi and Subhash Desai.

Though Munde has not pinpointed the constituency,sources in the BJP suggest that Poonam Mahajan may opt for either Mulund or the recently created Ghatkopar East. Both are strongholds of the saffron allies. Mulund,currently held by the BJP,provided a handsome lead to the party during recent Lok Sabha polls. However,this would not alter the basic seat-sharing formula,which provides for 171 seats for the Sena and 117 for the BJP.

Given a sea change in the social composition of many constituencies due to delimitation,the two NDA partners are likely to swap around two dozen seats.

The two allies have also planned a common election manifesto. Though the Sena and BJP have decided to conduct a joint poll campaign,unlike the past when they had just one token joint rally at the outset at Mumbai,it remains to be seen how this idea is put in to effect on a wider scale. Any such exercise requires a unity of hearts apart from a common purpose and it is common knowledge that there has been no love lost between the two allies. The BJP has not exactly stood by Sena chief Bal Thackeray and his son Uddhav Thackeray when they have been faced with revolts by Raj Thackeray and Narain Rane. In the same way,the Sena has also broken ranks with the BJP to back the Congress during the presidential polls.

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