The former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday said that the Congress and NCP will fight about 123-125 seats respectively and leave the remaining 41 seats to the constituencies for smaller allies in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls. He also mentioned that based on the agreement between the two major opposition parties the seats may be swapped.
Speaking on the alliance front and stressing on the VBA's demand that the Congress severe ties with the NCP cannot be accepted, Chavan said, "Talks are on the with the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi headed by Prakash Ambedkar, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, and Samajwadi Party. If the alliance talks work out, 41 seats would be allocated to smaller allies."
He also accused the ruling party at the dispensation of misusing power to finish off the opposition as there has been a steady inflow of leaders from various parties into the BJP. "Political parties are at the heart of parliamentary democracy, but now this is under threat. There is an attempt to take the country towards one-party rule which the country briefly experienced during Emergency," he alleged. Chavan expressed his concerns over the arrest of former Union minister P Chidambaram and ex-Karnakata minister DK Shivakumar, saying that the BJP was trying to terrorise opposition leaders to force them to join it.
The Shiv Sena party has now agreed to contest the elections with 135 seats of the total 288 seats in alliance with the BJP party for the Maharashtra Assembly polls but also wanted the senior partner National Democratic Alliance (NDA), to accommodate the smaller allies in BJP's seat quota. Sena was reportedly adamant on contesting 144 seats for Maharashtra polls and has demanded a revolving chief ministership in the event of the NDA returning to power once again. Though a formal seat-sharing deal between the two saffron allies is yet to be finalised, everyone is waiting for the parties to seal the deal.
"The BJP and the Sena may accept a formula to contest 135 seats each and leave 18 seats for smaller allies like the RPI(A), the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and the Shiv Sangram Party," a senior leader said on Tuesday. But Sena wanted BJP to allot 18 seats to smaller allies from its own quota of seat reasoning that they are partners of the BJP. But to accommodate this demand BJP will end up with only 117 seats to contest the polls. Complicating the matter, RPI(A) leader and Union Minister, Ramdas Athavale, RSP leader and state minister Mahadev Jankar and Vinayak Mete of the Shiv Sangram Party have refused to accept the party's demand to contest the assembly polls on BJP tickets. The 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls are slated to be held in October.
(Inputs from PTI)