Toughening its stand on the seat-sharing formula, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray embarrassed its ally the BJP by publicly stating in Mumbai that “135 seats each is not feasible” for the Maharashtra Assembly polls.
At the same time, Thackeray also reminded the BJP that his party was bigger in the state since he felt that there was nothing wrong in the Sena having a “Mission 150”, on the lines of the BJP’s “Mission 272” for the parliamentary polls.
“A total of 135 seats each is not feasible. The BJP had mission 272 for the Lok Sabha elections. What's wrong if Sena has Mission 150 for state elections?” Thackeray said. “I am trying my best for an alliance. We don't want to take any steps to break the alliance as it is for Hindutva,” he added.
The widening of the rift between the oldest allies of the NDA has left the BJP top brass worried. Party chief Amit Shah may visit Mumbai on Wednesday to seal the seat-sharing formula as just a month is left before the state, along with Haryana, goes to polls on October 15. But the BJP is using the “performance” argument, that their party MPs had won more seats in comparison with the Sena.
What the BJP had offered as a compromise prescription was 135 seats each to itself and the Sena after 18 constituencies are shared among other partners–the RPI (Athavale) and Swabhiman Party led by Raju Shetty–as part of the grand alliance for the 288 member Assembly. The 135 seats each works out for the BJP and Sena each getting 50 per cent of the seats left after distributing among other smaller allies, explained BJP sources.
So far, the BJP has desisted from publicly commenting on the issue. “Negotiations are on with the Shiv Sena and a proposal has been given to their chief. It is too early to comment,” BJP general secretary and in-charge of Maharashtra Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters.