Poll alliances waiting to be finetuned in Maharashtra

Poll alliances waiting to be finetuned in Maharashtra

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI file photo

The broad contours of the two alliances—ruling BJP-Shiv Sena combine and Congress-NCP front—have been formed, but finetuning it may take some more time in the run-up to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly polls.

Besides, the two diametrically opposite alliances of Maharashtra are also facing pressure from its smaller allies to give more representation in the seat-sharing formula. 

Meanwhile, differences seem to have cropped within the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) that has created a dent in the SC-Muslim vote bank of both the alliances during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The 288-member state Assembly goes to polls in September-October.
In the 2014 Assembly polls, the BJP, Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP contested individually.

There are chances of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) getting included in the Congress-NCP front, which gained traction after Raj Thackeray met former Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

In the ruling alliance, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray held a series of meetings within their parties, but the key concern over the CM's post is yet to be addressed publicly. The seat sharing would be on a 50:50 ratio after giving space to allies.

Sena's allies are demanding more seats. Sadabhau Khot of Rayat Kranti Sanghatana has asked for 10 seats, while Mahadev Jankar of Rashtriya Samaj Paksha wants 15 seats. Ramadas Athawale's party RPI has demanded at least 10 seats.

The Congress party and the NCP are yet to arrive at a consensus on equal share. When the seat-sharing talks are held on Tuesday, the new state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat is expected to spell out the demands to Sharad Pawar-led NCP. In 2009, the Congress contested 174 seats and the NCP contested in 114. Allies like Peasant and Workers Party and Republican factions also need to be accommodated. 

In a related development, the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM has asked for 100 seats from the VBA. Also, VBA is offering 100 seats to the Congress, should there be an alliance.