Though seat-sharing talks between the estranged Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena could not be completed due to the Pulwama terror attacks last week, both parties have almost finalised their quota. The announcement is likely to be made within the next few days, it is learnt.
According to sources, the alliance partners have agreed to equal sharing of 48 Lok Sabha and 288 Vidhan Sabha seats. The BJP has agreed to give the Palghar seat, which it currently holds, to the Sena in lieu of its support for power in New Delhi.
Last weekend, chief minister Devendra Fad-navis had called on Sena president Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence in Bandra, but the talks had to be discontinued in the wake of the Pulwama terror attacks.
The Sena has staked its claim to the Palghar (ST) Lok Sabha seat, which is currently held by sitting BJP MP Rajendra Gavit. In the run-up to the May 2018 Lok Sabha byelection in Palghar, Sena had fielded Shrinivas Vanaga, son of BJP’s then sitting MP Chintaman Vanaga. However, he was defeated by BJP’s Rajendra Gavit, who had quit the Congress months before the bypoll. If the BJP agrees to let go of its claim over Palghar seat, the fate of Mr Gavit is uncertain.
A senior BJP minister, on the condition of anonymity, said the seat-sharing talks with the Sena were going on behind the scenes for the last fortnight and the formal announcement would be just a formality.“The prepoll alliance will be based on development issues, Hindutva, farmers’ issues and prevention of division of saffron votes. The decision is expected to be announced any time this week,” he said.
Although the Sena has also staked its claim over the chief minister’s post, sources in the BJP disclosed that the party is unlikely to accept the demand, arguing that the party that gets the maximum number of seats in the Assembly elections shall stake the claim to the post.