Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Over 80% Seat-Sharing Dilemma Resolved After Late Night Mahayuti Alliance Meeting At Shah’s Delhi Residence

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Over 80% Seat-Sharing Dilemma Resolved After Late Night Mahayuti Alliance Meeting At Shah’s Delhi Residence

In the meeting, which ended past midnight, almost all the 48 Lok Sabha seats from the state were taken up for discussion.

Gaurav Vivek BhatnagarUpdated: Saturday, March 09, 2024, 10:37 PM IST
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Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde (M), State Deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis(L) and Ajit Pawar(R) | ANI

Ahead of its second Central Election Committee, that would be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is most likely to be held on March 10, senior BJP leader Amit Shah on Friday night convened a meeting at his residence with Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, and deputy chief ministers Ajit Pawar and Devendra Fadnavis to sort out the ticklish seat sharing formula between the three Mahayuti alliance partners. In the meeting, which ended past midnight, almost all the 48 Lok Sabha seats from the state were taken up for discussion.

The meeting was also attended by BJP president JP Nadda and former union minister and senior NCP (Ajit Pawar) leader Praful Patel. Earlier in the day, senior BJP leaders from the state – former CM Fadnavis, state unit chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule and union minister Raosaheb Danve – had met central BJP leaders in Delhi to work out a seat-sharing formula with Shinde-led Sena and Pawar-led NCP. However, that meeting had remained inconclusive as the BJP wants to contest some seats in the state which are at present represented by MPs from its ally parties.

Fadnavis describes talks as 'positive'

Meanwhile, Fadnavis, who reached Nagpur following the meeting, today described the talks as “positive” and claimed that nearly 80 per cent of the issues were resolved in them. The most prominent area of discontent, as per sources, remains those seats which were won by the alliance parties in the 2019 elections but the BJP wants to contest this time. The party wants to contest several seats in the urban areas of Mumbai but this also happens to be the stronghold of the Shinde Sena.

This peculiar situation has arisen primarily because in the last election, BJP had only contested 25 of the seats (of which it won 23) and had left as many as 23 for its then ally, the undivided Shiv Sena, which had won 18. As the Shiv Sena had subsequently parted ways with the BJP and joined hands with the Congress and NCP to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state, the BJP does not want to end up in a similar situation and wants to contest at least 30-32 seats if not more.

Other major issues that were discussed

The Shinde faction of Shiv Sena has 13 sitting MPs and considering that the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) faction is looking to contest over 20 seats has been asking for as many. Eknath Shinde is also learnt to have conveyed that his party’s candidates were in a better position to take on the Shiv Sena (UBT) candidates in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

Similarly, the Ajit Pawar faction of NCP, which joined hands with the Shinde Sena and BJP in July 2023 and currently holds the Raigad seat which is represented by its state president Sunil Tatkare, is asking for a larger chunk of seats on the ground that it lost many seats in the 2019 elections as it was pitted against the BJP while Shinde group had fought that election as BJP’s alliance partner.

This argument appears to have worked to some extent. Earlier this week, BJP had suggested that it would contest 32 seats and leave 12 for the Shinde Sena and four for NCP Ajit Pawar. But now the party looks to be adopting a more accommodating stance and may settle for sub-30 seats while leaving around a dozen for Shinde Sena and between 6-8 for the NCP led by Ajit Pawar.

For his part, Shah who met Shinde and Pawar earlier this week in Mumbai too, has already conveyed that all parties must be “reasonable” in their demands and that they should “not be aggressive” while making them. He has also made it known that the BJP would compensate its alliance partners adequately in the Assembly polls later but would want more seats to contest in the Lok Sabha polls as here people would be voting on national issues and on Modi’s work and appeal.

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