MUMBAI: ‘Unrealistic’ demands from new entrants into the NDA has created a roadblock in finalising the alliance’s seat sharing formula for the Assembly election, but the BJP is confident of ironing out the differences. With a consensus eluding at the conclave on Monday, leaders of Mahayuti (grand alliance), as it is known, have decided to meet again on August 5.
Allies who have queered the pitch for more seats are the Republican Party of India (RPI), Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP) who have sought a share of 40, 59 and 40 constituencies respectively out of the total 288. Leaders of these parties have also submitted a wish list of constituencies at the meeting.
RSP president Mahadev Jankar said his party was eyeing to win at least 12 seats to secure recongnition as a state party. “I compromised on my position in the Lok Sabha election and had agreed to contest from a constituency (Baramati) which was not my first preference. I expect that the BJP-Shiv Sena would compensate me this time,” he told Express.
According to him the Dhangar (shepherd) caste, which he hails from, is influential in western Maharashtra and Marathwada regions. The RSP leader said he would opt out of the fray to enable him to carry out the campaign across the state.
As for the SSS, the demand for seats was in proportion to its strength. “We will not stretch the demand beyond a limit. We are hopeful that the Mahayuti will remain intact in spite of the unfavourable seat sharing formula,” said party leader Sadanand Khot.
The RPI is expecting 20 seats though they have staked their claim for 40. “The people of Maharashtra have made up their mind against the Congress-NCP rule. We want to win as Mahayuti,” senior RPI leader Arjun Dangle said.
However, the BJP believes that these demands are unrealistic. “We cannot spare more than 20 seats altogether for these parties. They have made these demands to please their workers,” a senior BJP leader said.
According to the leader, the Shiv Sena will be asked to spare some seats for SSS in western Maharashtra where it has some hold. “We will give some seats from our quota in Marathwada and Vidarbha to the RPI. These two regions have sizable Dalit population,” he said.