Maharashtra Assembly Elections: Mahayuti Sees Stir As Shinde Sena Demands 100 Seats, Ajit Pawar's NCP Not Behind

Maharashtra Assembly Elections: Mahayuti Sees Stir As Shinde Sena Demands 100 Seats, Ajit Pawar's NCP Not Behind

The BJP had contested 28 seats in the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra and managed to win nine seats, while the Eknath Shinde Shiv Sena was given 15 seats, of which his side won seven seats.

Rohit ChandavarkarUpdated: Friday, June 21, 2024, 09:41 AM IST
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ANI

The BJP’s low strike rate in the recent Lok Sabha polls has worked almost like a morale booster for its Mahayuti alliance partners in the state.

Unhappy at the way they were dominated by the BJP before the Lok Sabha polls while working out a seat-sharing formula, now partners Eknath Shinde and Ajit Pawar are getting on the offensive.

Posturing has begun ahead of the seat talks and the Shinde group has publicly demanded 100 seats in a 288-strong House. Some in the Ajit Pawar group have begun blaming certain BJP leaders for having planted claims in the media that the bad performance of the alliance was mainly because of the inclusion of Ajit Pawar in the Mahayuti.

The BJP had contested 28 seats in the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra and managed to win nine seats, while the Eknath Shinde Shiv Sena was given 15 seats, of which his side won seven seats.

Ajit Pawar was given four seats and could only win one seat. On Wednesday, at the Shiv Sena's foundation day function, former state minister and Shinde group leader Ramdas Kadam said, "We were forced to change some candidates by the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls. Had this not happened, we would have won more seats. Now, I request Shinde to take me to Delhi and I will plead before the BJP high command for 100 seats in the assembly polls. I am sure we will win 90. The BJP should let us do what we want to do."

As Kadam spoke from the dais, Shinde smiled and nodded. It was obvious that Shinde and Kadam had previously decided that this demand should be raised by them publicly, as a challenge to the BJP ahead of the seatsharing talks. Based on their ground surveys and opinion polls, the BJP made Shinde change some of his candidates in certain constituencies such as Yavatmal, Washim and Mumbai northwest.

Shinde had been uncomfortable about this. But now, his group is hitting back and putting pressure on the BJP. As for the BJP's other Mahayuti partner in Maharashtra, the Ajit Pawar NCP has been hitting back at the tacit campaign underway on social media by some BJP leaders, that their loss in Maharashtra was mainly because of having taken Ajit Pawar along.

Blaming Ajit Pawar for Mahayuti's debacle in Maharashtra not justified: NCP MLA

"This subtle campaign happening, holding only our leader responsible for the Mahayuti's poor performance, is not justified. There has to be joint responsibility. There might be a future plan in the works, hence, this campaign and news is being planted in the media," said NCP MLA Amol Mitkari. In a rare show of sympathy, even NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar group) MLA Jitendra Awhad was seen supporting Ajit Pawar on Thursday.

Speaking to the media, Awhad said, "The BJP is trying to put Ajit Pawar on the defensive and trying to blame him for the loss. NCP members and leadership must realise the BJP's wider plan."

It seems that the BJP is facing an internal challenge in the Mahayuti after the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls and the party may have to change its strategy and approach towards its alliance partners if an amicable seat-sharing understanding is to be reached for the assembly polls.

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