MUMBAI: Seat sharing talks between the BJP and Shiv Sena, for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, are likely to commence soon. However, as a recent internal survey by the BJP showed, the tally of both the parties could come down considerably even if they contested the polls as allies.
The BJP-Sena alliance had bagged 42 of 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra in 2014. While the BJP had won 23, Sena bagged 18 and Swabhimani Party took one. After the recent bypolls, the BJP's tally slipped to 22, while the Swabhimani Party MP Raju Shetti broke away from the NDA to join the Congress-NCP alliance.
On several occasions over the last one year, the Sena had been on record saying they won't contest the 2019 polls in alliance with the BJP.
While party president Amit Shah had advised state BJP leaders to avoid public spat with Sena, CM Devendra Fadnavis told his party MLAs and MPs, at a recent meeting, that while attempts are being made to forge an alliance with Sena, they should also be prepared to contest independently.
The Congress-NCP alliance talks are also stuck due to some small allies, sources have said. With the exception of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) of Raju Shetti and Communist Party of India (Marxist), no allies in Congress and NCP are ready to contest Lok Sabha polls and the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi is yet to decide on joining hands with the opposition alliance. This has delayed the seat sharing talks.
The dispute over 8 seats, which had halted the talks earlier has almost been resolved indicated state Congress chief Ashok Chavan and NCP leader Ajit Pawar.
Prakash Ambedkar of Bharip Bahujan MahaSangh (BBMS) however, is not ready to severe his ties with Owaisey's All India Muslim Ittehad-ul-Muslimene (AIMIM) and hence has kept away the proposal to join the opposition unity.