Accusing BJP and Shiv Sena leaders of provoking the other small parties in the Mahayuti against each other, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana chief and Member of Parliament from Hatkanangale, Raju Shetti on Thursday said they should agree on seat-sharing in the upcoming assembly polls.
“The BJP and Shiv Sena leaders are not ready to give us even those seats on which we had a lead of around 20,000 votes in the last assembly elections in 2009. However, now we have understood their conspiracies and maintain peace and have a healthy dialogue with each other,” said Shetti.
Speaking to mid-day, Shetti said it is the history of both these parties to provoke the four small parties in the Mahayuti against each other.
The Mahayuti includes the four small parties of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), Rashtriya Samaj Party, Republican Party of India (Athavale group) and Shivsangram Party with the two major parties of BJP and Sena.
Taking a step back from his demand of 13 seats in the state for his party in the upcoming assembly election, Shetti sarcastically said, “We are so annoyed by the seat-sharing disagreements of the Sena and BJP, that we told their leaders we are ready to give them the seats from our allotted quota.”
The SSS chief pointed out that it was more important to defeat the Congress-NCP government in the state than to fight for seats. “It is possible that the leaders of the two parties will distribute 18 seats among the four parties and their leaders will amicably solve the seat-sharing issue by distributing the seats among us,” Shetti added.
Shetti also warned the leaders of the BJP and Sena that he would wait until September 21- the day he called a meeting of his party leaders – to decide on their stand. However, he said, “If the two major parties are unable to resolve the conflict between them, we have already pulled up our socks and are ready to contest on 63 seats (he didn’t disclose which seats) in Maharashtra.”
But he also insisted his party would not be adamant on their stand on seat-sharing and had in fact, presented the BJP and Sena with a formula on seat-sharing. “Our leader Sadabhau Khot met Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari separately, and gave them a formula (the details of the formula were not given) for seat-sharing. He requested that the leaders of both parties accept this formula and not keep the citizens of the state waiting due to the conflict among themselves,” Shetti said.
Shetti also said that there was a huge difference between the Lok Sabha and assembly elections. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma worked in the Lok Sabha election. However, assembly elections are being contested on local issues. The voters judge local MLAs on the basis of their work and vote for the parties,” Shetti said.