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'Next 24 Hours': As Clock Ticks for Maharashtra Polls, Shiv Sena-BJP Rack Brains Over Seat-Sharing Formula

Sena leader Sanjay Raut told a regional news channel that the next 24 hours are crucial for the alliance between the BJP and his party.

PTI

Updated:September 23, 2019, 11:30 PM IST
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'Next 24 Hours': As Clock Ticks for Maharashtra Polls, Shiv Sena-BJP Rack Brains Over Seat-Sharing Formula
File photo. Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut addressing the media in Mumbai

Mumbai: As uneasiness grew in the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena over a seat-sharing arrangement for the next month's assembly polls in Maharashtra, Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday said a formula was almost worked out between them, and that the "next 24 hours" are "crucial" for the alliance.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the official announcement on seat-sharing deal will be made at the "right time". When pressed for his reaction on the status of the seat-sharing deal, the chief minister said, "I am also equally concerned about the formation of the alliance with the Sena. However, official announcement will me made at the right time".

The two parties are expected to formally announce on Tuesday their pre-poll pact for the October 21 assembly elections, according to a senior BJP leader.

Raut told a regional news channel that the next 24 hours are crucial for the alliance between the BJP and his party. "A seat-sharing formula has almost been worked out. It is in the final stage. Sena is known for keeping its word. When Lok Sabha elections were scheduled (in April-May this year), there was some arrangement finalised for seat-sharing," he said.

Amid reports that the Sena might have to make a climbdown on the number of seats it had initially demanded to contest, its leaders have been maintaining the arrangement will be made as per an understanding reached among party chief Uddhav Thackeray, BJP president Amit Shah and Fadnavis earlier this year.

Notably, Thackeray announced on two occasions — on September 9 and September 20 — that the formal seat-sharing announcement will be made in a "couple of days". Sources said the delay in making the announcement was part of a clever political strategy being adopted by the BJP and the Sena.

According to them, both the parties, which are fighting for supremacy, are playing at the psychological level so as to force the other into agreeing to allocate more number of seats. Earlier, numerous seat-sharing formulae were floated between both the parties, but none of them was officially confirmed.

In 2014 elections, the Sena and the BJP had broken up their alliance at the last moment, and contested separately. After the results, the BJP emerged as the single largest party winning 122 of the 288 seats while the Sena bagged 63 seats. Both the parties later joined the hands to form the government.

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