NEW DELHI : Bracing up for tough negotiations on seat adjustments with alliance partner Shiv Sena, the BJP top brass has entrusted Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis to hold talks with the NDA ally in the state. Union Home Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah is likely to intervene in final negotiations amid the party leadership keen to keep the commitment to contest the upcoming state polls jointly.
“We’ve asked the chief minister (Fadanvis) to speak to Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray. There’s no agreement as yet on seats,” said a top-ranking BJP functionary.
The BJP leadership, however, reckons that the seat negotiations wouldn’t be a smooth affair. “Shiv Sena will argue for a pre-poll commitment on the chief minister’s post, besides staking claims on a large number of constituencies. Thackeray could refuse to admit that the BJP has expanded rapidly in the state in recent years, which negates the old equations,” said a senior BJP functionary.
Incidentally, the BJP had gone to the state polls in 2014 on its own and won 122 seats, while contesting 260 of the 288 constituencies. The Shiv Sena had bagged 63 seats. However, the two parties had contested an equal number of seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“BJP national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav has been appointed the election in-charge for the state for the sole reason that the party anticipates Shiv Sena to attempt political brinkmanship in the seat adjustment talks,” added the BJP functionary. The saffron outfit will try to take the upper hand in the seat negotiations with the Sena as Congress and NCP has significantly lost political spaces in the state.
NCP-Congress MLAs join BJP
Factionalism within NCP and the Congress is the reason for members leaving them for BJP, three prominent leaders who joined the saffron party in presence of BJP chief Amit Shah at Solapur, said on Sunday. Former NCP MP from Kolhapur, Mahadik said, leaders from his own party as well as the ally, didn’t help him in 2019 Lok Sabha elections which forced him to rethink. Jaykumar Gore, MLA from Man in Satara, was close to former CM Prithviraj Chavan and senior Congress leader Patangrao Kadam. He claimed that did not help him to get work done. Osmanabad-Kalam MLA RanaJagjeetsingh Patil, son of NCP leader Ajit Pawar’s sister and a junior minister in 2014 also broke away.