Shiv Sena party 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 wanted the senior National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partner 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 seats 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. As per reports, poll managers of the BJP are demanding more than 135 seats to accommodate leaders from Opposition parties and its 'growing political might'. In the 2014 assembly elections, which both the parties contested separately, the BJP won 122 seats and Shiv Sena had 63. The 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls are slated to be held in October.
Last Saturday, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray shared dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai and announced that the saffron alliance for polls was 'inevitable'. The seat-sharing formula of 135 seats each was first mooted by state BJP unit president, Chandrakant Patil a few months ago. However, Sena claims that BJP president Amit Shah and Fadnavis had agreed to Sena's demand for 144 seats and the CM post for a period of 2.5 years in the five-year term of the government.