NEW DELHI: Not yielding on gains made in Maharashtra since 2014, the BJP is all set to contest about 160 Assembly seats, leaving around 122 constituencies for ally Shiv Sena and six for smaller parties.
It has been reliably learnt that the two allies finally agreed to negotiate only those seats which weren’t won by either the BJP or the Shiv Sena on the basis of their existing strengths.
While the BJP initially pitched for splitting seats won by Opposition parties in 2014 equally, sources said the party is now amenable to the idea of sparing more than half of such constituencies for the Sena.
“The Shiv Sena could contest 122-126 Assembly seats, with the possibility of the number going on the higher side on the condition that a few candidates of the smaller allies would be accommodated on its election symbol,” said a senior BJP functionary.
The BJP could contest 156-160 Assembly seats, which would ensure that the saffron outfit maintains strategic edge during government formation, added the BJP functionary.
The BJP’s central election committee is likely to meet after PM Narendra Modi returns from the US. “By the time the BJP’s CEC meets, the seat adjustment with the Sena should be inked,” said a BJP leader.
“Only the seats which weren’t won by the BJP and Shiv Sena are being negotiated. The BJP wants a few smaller parties to be part of the alliance. After leaving aside roughly half-a-dozen seats, which may slightly vary, remaining constituencies would be split on the basis of mutual assessment of the strengths of respective parties,” said another BJP leader.
The consequent permutation and combination roughly leave about 97 seats on the negotiation table.
Deputy CM for Sena?
The BJP and the Shiv Sena are currently in the midst of mutually agreeing to specific constituencies which could be slotted to either of the outfits.
The prospect of a deputy chief ministerial berth for Shiv Sena isn’t being ruled out by the BJP functionaries.
“The seat adjustments between the two allies would be concluded on the basis of a realistic assessment of winnability of respective candidates,” said a BJP leader.
“I’m equally concerned about the alliance and it should be announced at an appropriate time,” Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis said regarding seat sharing.