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Lok Sabha elections 2024 | Eknath Shinde emerges as toughest negotiator in Maharashtra politics

Shinde, the Shiv Sena supremo, during negotiations with Devendra Fadnavis, state BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Ajit Pawar and state NCP president Sunil Tatkare, took a tough stand on some seats even though he had to drop candidates and sitting MPs in the early round of discussions.
Last Updated : 03 May 2024, 09:30 IST
Last Updated : 03 May 2024, 09:30 IST

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Mumbai: The two diametrically-opposite alliances - Maha Yuti (NDA) and Maha Vikas Aghadi (I.N.D.I.A.) - have finalised their respective seat-sharing arrangements and announced all their candidates for the Lok Sabha elections,. However, taking into consideration leaders from both camps, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde seems to have emerged as the tough negotiator and bargainer.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi comprising Congress, Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and Sharad Pawar-led NCP (SP) had announced their seat-sharing formula on April 9 while the Maha Yuti involving BJP, Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar-led NCP managed to arrive at the final solution only on May 2.

Maharashtra sends 48 MPs, the second-largest contingent after 80 from Uttar Pradesh.

As per the MVA arrangement, Thackeray has managed the lion’s share of 21 seats followed by Congress 17 and NCP (SP) 10. However, some disputes remain involving the Congress, which was keen to field candidates from Sangli and Bhiwandi, now being fought by Shiv Sena (UBT) and NCP (SP), respectively.

In Sangli, Thackeray unilaterally declared the name of wrestler and two-time Maharashtra Kesari award winner Chandrahar Patil as the LS candidate, prompting Congress leader Vishal Patil to file his nomination as an Independent. Similarly, Pawar’s party nominated Suresh Gopinath Mhatre alias Balya Mama from Bhiwandi, to the ire of the Congress. There were disagreements over seats in Mumbai too.

As far as the Maha Yuti is concerned, the BJP settled with 28 seats while Shiv Sena netted 15 seats and NCP bagged four. Ajit Pawar allotted one from his quota to Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, which has fielded its founder Mahadev Jankar from Parbhani.

Shinde, the Shiv Sena supremo, during negotiations with Devendra Fadnavis, state BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Ajit Pawar and state NCP president Sunil Tatkare, took a tough stand on some seats even though he had to drop candidates and sitting MPs in the early round of discussions.

At the insistence of the BJP and their internal report which reflected anti-incumbency, three sitting Shiv Sena MPs of the Shinde camp had to to be dropped in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions - Krupal Tumane from Ramtek (SC), Bhawana Gawali (Yavatmal-Washim) and Hemant Patil (Hingoli).

In Yavatmal-Washim, Gawali, the seniormost female MP of the Shiv Sena who left Thackeray to join Shinde, was dropped. In her place, Rajashri Patil was given a ticket. Incidentally, she had to be accommodated as her husband and sitting Hingoli MP Hemant Patil, whose name was already announced, had to be pulled back and replaced with Baburao Kadam Kohlikar, who would take on Nagesh Patil-Ashtikar of Shiv Sena (UBT).

Shinde stood firm in the later round of discussions - the BJP was keen to contest the twin seats of Kalyan and Thane. While Thane is symbolically very important for the Balasaheb Thackeray-founded Shiv Sena, Kalyan is represented by the CM's son, Dr Shrikant Shinde. On the other hand, the NCP was keen to contest Nashik and had planned to field veteran OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal or his nephew Sameer Bhujbal, a former MP. However, Shinde ensured that two-time sitting MP Hemant Godse gets the ticket. As far as Palghar was concerned, Shinde agreed to give the seat to BJP as it was their traditional seat.

“Hectic negotiations have happened. But as far as the BJP-led alliance is concerned, Shinde, a veteran politician, who led the coup in Shiv Sena against Uddhav Thackeray, managed to extract 15 seats,” political observers said.

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Published 03 May 2024, 09:30 IST

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