With eight days to go for the nomination filing process to begin, there seems to be a complete deadlock between the four major political parties — Congress-Nationalist Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena contesting the forthcoming Assembly elections.
NCP’s state unit chief Sunil Tatkare, CM Prithviraj Chavan, BJP’s state unit chief Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena spokesman MP Sanjay Raut pose as if all is well. Pic/Ravikiran Deshmukh
A senior leader from the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance told sunday mid-day, “Till Saturday afternoon, there was no concrete plan about the issue of seat sharing.” A senior Congress leader said the party hasn’t accepted the NCP’s demand for more seats.
While NCP has staked claim on 144 seats of the 288-member state assembly, BJP has demanded more seats from Sena. Significantly, there is no dialogue between the Congress and NCP over seat sharing as no formal meeting has taken place over a month-and-a-half.
No immediate meeting is scheduled as Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi is abroad and Rahul Gandhi, the party’s vice president, has kept himself away from the alliance talks, the Congress leader said. A senior NCP leader admitted that they haven’t have received any calls from the All India Congress Committee on the seat-sharing issue.
On the saffron alliance front, both BJP and Shiv Sena leaders had at least three meetings where Sena party Chief Uddhav Thackeray, BJP state unit chief Devendra Fadnavis were present among others. But according to a BJP leader, they couldn’t arrive at a solution. “We are not sure whether the alliance is going to happen,” he said.
The BJP has a demanded revision of the age-old seat -haring formula that says, of the 288 seats, Sena will contest 171 and BJP 117. During 2009 elections, Sena offered two more seats making it 169 and 119.
Now, after the Lok Sabha success, an elated BJP has demanded equal share of seats, which has not been accepted by the Sena. But, both the parties have allocated a few of their seats to four smaller parties, who are their in the Mahayuti.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre said his party was hopeful of sorting out the matter soon. He refused to accept that talks had failed but said NCP should respond with the exact number of seats it wants to contest.