MUMBAI: The Assembly poll battle in Maharashtra is hotting up, with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) finalising the seat-sharing formula on Monday and an Election Commission team reaching Mumbai to review the election preparedness of the state administration on Tuesday.
Both the Congress and the NCP will contest 125 seats each while 38 seats have been left for other allies, said Maharashtra Congress president Balasahb Thorat. He also made it clear that the option of getting Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) onboard wasn’t considered.
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said that the 38 seats would be shared between Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and Samajwadi Party. Attempts to get the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) of Prakash Ambedkar remained unsuccessful as their demand to sever ties with the NCP couldn’t be accepted, he added.
The Congress and the NCP have been smarting under a spate of desertions of leaders who have crossed over to the saffron camp. Accusing the BJP of threatening the basic fabric of democracy by misusing power to finish the opposition, he said, “Political parties are at the heart of parliamentary democracy, but now this is under threat. There is an attempt to take the country towards one-party rule....”
The comments came as former chief of state legislature Shivajirao Deshmukh’s son Satyajeet joining the BJP in Sangli on Monday.
The BJP-Shiv Sena seat deal is likely to be announced on Thursday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the concluding rally of Chief Minister Fadnavis’ Maha Janadesh Yatra at Nashik.
While pre-election surveys indicating the BJP has an advantage even without alliance, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray sought to raise the poll pitch by appealing to his party workers to stay prepared for construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. “The way the government is working, our hopes have increased for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya...” Thackeray said in Mumbai.