Mahayuti deadlock may end soon

Mumbai :  BJP-Sena alliance deadlock is likely to end soon after the smaller allies of the Saffron alliance (Mahauti) said that they had got an assurance from Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray that they would get as many as 14 seats.

However, Sena and BJP are still discussing on the tentative 150 and 124 seats respectively between them.

Mahayuti faced tense moments in the morning when three of its smaller constituents threatened to quit over ‘paltry’ allocation of seats. Shiv Sena had last night offered smaller allies seven seats, keeping for itself 151 and sparing 130 for BJP.

However, hours after accusing BJP and Sena of “backstabbing” them, the leaders of smaller parties gave indications of staying on in the alliance following an assurance from Uddhav Thackeray that they would be given “respectable” number of seats.

“Our meeting with Uddhavji was very successful. We have proposed to him a formula that can make every party happy.

We have asked him to keep 150 seats for Shiv Sena, leaving 120 for BJP and we will be satisfied with 18 seats. We are going to meet BJP leaders now and hope this logjam will be sorted out today,” Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana leader and Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetty told reporters after his meeting with Thackeray.

Vinayak Mete of Shiv Sangram, who was also present during the meeting, said junior partners in the alliance would get more than 7 seats.

“We met Uddhavji and other leaders of the Sena. We have reworked a formula which we will now discuss with BJP leaders today. Under the new formula, smaller parties will be getting more than 7 seats to contest,” Mete said.

RPI’s Arjun Dangle, who also met BJP and Sena leaders and sought 18 seats for lesser allies, said he was told they would think about it.

The saffron combine has four junior partners in ‘Mahayuti’, cobbled together ahead of Lok Sabha elections, including Raju Shetty’s Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), Mahadev Jankar’s Rashtriya Samaj Party (RSP), Vinayak Mete’s Shiv Sangram and Ramdas Athavale’s Republican Party of India (RPI). Earlier in the day, as the partners threatened to walk out of the alliance, state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said, “Our party has decided to contest the polls with all our alliance partners.”

“They joined us before Lok Sabha polls reposing trust in us. They have to stay with us, we want them to stay with us and we are trying to see to it that they stay with us,” he said. The leaders of Mahayuti met at a suburban hotel to discuss various proposals put forth by the allies. Under one of the proposals, BJP’s seats would come down to 127 and for smaller allies 10, while leaving Shiv Sena’s quota of 151, declared as “final” by Uddhav, untouched. “The meeting of BJP and alliance partners went off well today. Mahayuti is strong and will remain strong,” Fadnavis said after the meeting, adding the differences will be sorted out soon.

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