Seat-sharing woe for competing alliances in Maharashtra

Seat-sharing woe for competing alliances in Maharashtra

Seat-sharing woe for competing alliances in Maharashtra

Four key players in Maharashtra politics – Congress, NCP, BJP and Shiv Sena – have one thing in common. Each of the parties is grappling with issues related to seat sharing for the upcoming assembly elections.

While the trials and tribulations of Congress-NCP coalition, which has been ruling the state for the past 15 years, have been well documented, their challengers the Shiv Sena-BJP combine have problems of their own.

The SS-BJP alliance has expanded over the years to include RPI (A), the Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathan (SSS) and a couple of minor outfits who now want to have their share of the pie in contesting the 288 assembly constituencies.

RPI (A) leader Ramdas Athavale had staked his claim to 47 assembly constituencies only to curtail its demand to 20 seats. Senior alliance partners – Shiv Sena and the BJP – both find the number too high.

Similarly, the SSS has expressed the desire to contest around 32 assembly seats in the western Maharashtra region where the party has a sizeable presence. SSS is led by Raju Shetti, the member of the Lok Sabha from Hatkanangle.

According to the formula agreed upon by Shiv Sena founder, the late Bal Thackeray, and BJP leader, the late Pramod Mahajan in 1984, the Sena contests 171 seats in the state assembly while the BJP puts up candidates for 117 seats.

“There will be no change in the seat sharing formula,” Shiv Sena leaders insist claiming that the new allies will have to be adjusted by the two major parties.

After its spectacular victory in the Lok Sabha elections, an upbeat BJP has been claiming that the Sena benefited from Narendra Modi across the country. There have been demands from a section of the BJP leaders for changing the seat-sharing formula in their favour.

However, discussions on seat sharing between the Shiv Sena and the BJP are yet to take place.