Mumbai: Claiming that the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena have agreed to an alliance for contesting the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, a BJP leader involved in the seat sharing negotiations revealed his party will remain firm on more than 100 seats out of the 227 in the civic body. Meanwhile, another senior minister revealed that the BJP’s high command has asked the Sena to accept 105 seats if they opt for an alliance.
The first meeting of negotiations on seat sharing between the Sena and BJP was held on Monday evening at party president Raosaheb Danve’s official residence. Members representing the BJP were Danve, Ashish Shelar, the city president, and ministers Prakash Mehta and Vinod Tawde, while the Sena delegation comprised Rajya Sabha MPAnil Desai, MLC Anil Parab and former legislator Ravindra Mirlekar.
According to a BJP insider, his party accepted the proposal from the Sena and discussed how to give a transparent administration to the Mumbaikar during first meeting. The leaders refused to disclose details in the Sena’s proposal. The second meeting will be held on Wednesday.
Mehta said, “The negotiations will begin from the 50:50 formula of seat sharing, from which we will come to a consensus.” Mehta refused to disclose the final figure which the BJP will accept. This has given an indication that the BJP will ask for 115 seats from the Sena. However, a Sena leader said they will not give more than 100 seats to the BJP.
The BJP source justified why they needed more seats. “In the last BMC elections, we came second in 115 wards. Today, we can win 80 seats easily on our own merit. Hence, we have asked the Sena to share more than 100 seats.”
A BJP leader said they will not stretch the negotiations and will make an adjustment with the Sena as party president Amit Shah has indicated the final decision on 105 seats.
The source also said if the BJP has to share seats from its own quota to give its ally Republican Party of India (Athawale) group, they will ask the RPI (A) candidates to contest on the BJP symbol.
In a combined statement, Shelar and Desai said, “There are some issues which have to be sorted out. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will speak over telephone and then next meeting will be held.” Desai said they have decided January 21 as the deadline to finish negotiations.
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