TNN | Updated: Sep 10, 2019, 5:29 IST
- A senior party functionary said talks between the two allies had been smooth and they will retain their sitting seats and the remaining will be divided on a 50:50 basis
- Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has emerged as the alliance’s foremost leader and enjoys support from all sections of society, a BJP leader said
NEW DELHI: Anticipating better prospects after abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir and also when opposition parties are in disarray, BJP is confident of contesting over 170 seats in Maharashtra, far more than its principal ally Shiv Sena in the state.
A senior party functionary said talks between the two allies had been smooth and they will retain their sitting seats and the remaining will be divided on a 50:50 basis.
The leader said negotiations between the allies were in an advanced stage and seat-sharing would be finalised well ahead of assembly elections. State polls in Maharashtra, along with Haryana and Jharkhand, will be due by the end of the year.
BJP expecting to contest more seats than its partner in Maharashtra is a major shift from the two parties agreeing in principle in February to fight equal number of seats in the 288-member assembly.
The two parties were learnt to have reached a 50:50 seat-sharing agreement following talks between BJP president Amit Shah and Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray to seal their Lok Sabha arrangement. In the Lok Sabha polls, BJP had contested 25 and Shiv Sena 23 seats.
However, BJP’s return to power at the Centre with a bigger mandate and the party’s confidence of popular support after the Modi government’s move to repeal provisions of Article 370, a section of party leaders believes the terms of engagement with the Sena will be be renegotiated and they should hold the upper hand in the state.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has emerged as the alliance’s foremost leader and enjoys support from all sections of society, a BJP leader said, adding that the Sena will have no other option but to agree to his party’s demand if push comes to shove.
The parties had fought independently in the 2014 polls after they could not reach a seat-sharing deal, with BJP winning 122 and Sena 63 seats. With BJP playing second fiddle to its ally in state polls till the 2009 assembly elections, Sena has found it hard to accept its once junior partner’s pre-eminent position in the state under PM Narendra Modi.
Several BJP leaders also believe that Sena may agree to the saffron party contesting the lion’s share of seats. “Shiv Sena cadres are of the view that the alliance should be in place, which its leaders can’t ignore,” a senior leader said.
Asked if BJP may give the deputy chief minister’s post to its ally to win it over, a BJP leader said such things could be negotiated only during talks between the two parties and a decision on details of the pact would be made at the highest level.
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