Maharashtra alliances stumble over seat-sharing formula

Maharashtra alliances stumble over seat-sharing formula

The Maharashtra polls are round the corner but neither alliance - the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena and the Congress-NCP front - has been able to come out with a seat-sharing formula. 

The Election Commission is expected to announce the poll schedule for the state just after Ganeshutsav and both alliances want to finish off negotiations before Model Code of Conduct comes into force.

Only a few persons in the saffron alliance are aware of the seat-sharing - Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray.

When the pact was finalised ahead of Lok Sabha polls, it was announced that BJP and Sena will contest an equal number of seats, after accommodating allies.

The BJP has interpreted this as each party retaining the winning seats - BJP (122) and Sena (63) - and then splitting the remaining seats equally, following by allocation to allies.

A section of Sena leaders insists that after a few seats are given to the allies, all remaining seats be split equally between the BJP and Sena. The Sena is also insisting on getting the Chief Minister's post, for full or half-term.

In the Congress and NCP, senior leaders of both parties, including NCP president Sharad Pawar, has maintained that there has been an agreement on 240 seats and rest are being worked out. Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat has assured that the seat-sharing would be announced soon.

The Sena-BJP alliance for the Assembly polls goes back to 1990, when the Sena contested 183 seats, winning 52 while BJP contested 105 winning 42.

In 2009, the BJP won more seats than the Sena for the first time, winning 46 of 119 seats it contested, with Sena reduced to 44 seats out of 169. The alliance broke in 2014, with the BJP winning 122 seats and the Sena winning 63.

The Congress and NCP are contested separately in 1999 and won 75 and 58 seats respectively. In 2004,  Congress contested 172 seats and won 69 seats while NCP contested 114 seats, winning 71. The late Vilasrao Deshmukh ensured that Congress gets the CM's post. In 2014, the Congress and NCP contested separately winning 42 and 41 seats, respectively. 

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