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After Weeks of Wrangling, BJP and Shiv Sena May Announce Seat-sharing Pact for Maharashtra Polls Today

Both parties have been at loggerheads over the seat-sharing formula for the Assembly polls that Sena leaders say was agreed to before the Lok Sabha elections, where they had a pre-poll alliance.

News18.com

Updated:September 30, 2019, 7:31 AM IST
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After Weeks of Wrangling, BJP and Shiv Sena May Announce Seat-sharing Pact for Maharashtra Polls Today
File photo of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. (PTI)

Mumbai: After weeks of being locked in an intense battle over seat sharing, the BJP and its ally Shiv Sena are likely to announce their pact for the Maharashtra polls on October 21.

Sources had earlier told CNN-News18 that as per the agreement between the parties, the Sena will contest on 126 of the 288 seats, with the BJP fighting on 144. The remaining 18 seats will be given to other smaller parties. The post of the deputy chief minister, as per the agreement, could be allocated to a leader from the Sena.

The agreement was reportedly sealed after BJP president Amit Shah chaired a meeting of the party's core group from Maharashtra to give final shape to its poll strategy and zero down on candidates for the state assembly elections.

The meeting came amidst reports of unease in the saffron alliance in Maharashtra in view of the BJP offering fewer seats to the Sena instead of an equal division of seats.

On Saturday, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said talks with Shah were progressing well and a final decision would be announced soon. He said he would fulfil the promise he had made to his father and late Sena supremo Bal Thackeray of making a Shiv sainik (party worker) the chief minister of Maharashtra.

If the alliance materialises, Shiv Sena is not the one to backstab. We oppose openly," he said. Stating that he wants the Sena to be power in Maharashtra, he said, "I had promised Balasaheb that I will make a Shiv sainik the chief minister of Maharashtra. I have vowed to fulfil this promise."

"I want power in Maharashtra so I have called aspirants from all 288 seats. I want to strengthen the party in all the constituencies. If alliance with BJP happens, Shiv Sena will work to ensure BJP's victory in the seats they contest. BJP's support should always be there for Sena candidates where they contest," he said.

"I want to ensure that our election preparedness is complete in the constituencies where Shiv Sena will contest," he said, urging the cadres to stay loyal to the party and allies. "If Shiv sainiks trust me and stay with me, I can confidently move ahead on the political path," he said.

Both parties have been at loggerheads over the seat-sharing formula for the Assembly polls that Sena leaders say was agreed to before the Lok Sabha elections, where they had a pre-poll alliance.

According to the Thackeray-led party, this meant an equal distribution of seats and sharing of the chief minister's post for two-and-a-half years. Maharashtra has 288 Assembly seats, of which the BJP won 122 and the Sena 63 in the 2014 state polls, which they fought separately.

A few months later, the Sena joined the government-led by Fadnavis, the first BJP chief minister of the state. The Sena had been insisting on a 50:50 division of seats, but the BJP appeared to be not open to this deal.

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