MUMBAI: Even as two senior BJP ministers have been entrusted with the responsibility to negotiate the seat-sharing arrangement with the Shiv Sena leaders, a faction within the party has raised demand to contest all the assembly constituencies where the BJP is in controlling position in the local bodies.
While the alliance between the BJP and the Shiv Sena was finalized ahead of Lok Sabha elections, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said that after deducting the share of smaller parties, rest of the seats would be equally distributed within the two major parties.
Maharashtra finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told the reporters on Tuesday that he along with state BJP president Chandrakant Patil have been entrusted by the party to decide upon the finer details of the seat sharing agreement within the framework decided before Lok Sabha polls. He also said that the talks would be concluded before the 10-day Ganeshotsav ends.
However, according to party sources a strong group within the party has raised the demand that the assembly seats from the places where the BJP controls the local bodies should not be given to the Shiv Sena.
The BJP controls over 160 out 226 Municipal Councils and 25 out of 34 Zilla Parishads. On this backdrop, it would not be possible to meet the demand of the group within the BJP without contesting separately.
Incidentally, in his rally in Solapur on Sunday, BJP chief Amit Shah had asked the gathering to give the alliance a thumping victory and a second term as Chief Minister to Devendra Fadnavis.
The state leaders have been talking of winning 229 out of 288 seats in alliance with the Shiv Sena after the rally.
However, sources within the party from Delhi, revealed that according to a recent survey commissioned by the party leadership has shown that the BJP would be able to win around 160 seats comfortably even if it contests independently in the forthcoming assembly elections. On the contrary, even though the party forms alliance with the Shiv Sena, the alliance won’t win more than 230 seats, the survey has said. The faction within the BJP appears to have swung into action after knowing about the survey results, said the sources.
Meanwhile, the core committee of the state BJP would be meeting at Chief Minister’s official residence tonight to decide on the future course of action.
The elections are likely to be announced anytime after the Ganeshotsav i.e. after September.