Mumbai: Spokesperson of the Shiv Sena (UBT) Sanjay Raut stated on Thursday that his party was keen on contesting 23 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra. The Congress has outright rejected his claim on the ground that many of the Sena M.P.s and MLAs have defected to the faction led by chief minister Eknath Shinde.
In response to this, Mr Raut stated that even though the elected representatives have quit, the voters are still with his party.
Talks to be held on seat sharing
He said the 23 seats were bastions of his party and the voter base in all these seats was intact. In any case, the Congress high command will have the final say with regard to seat sharing with other constituents of the Maha Vikas Aghadi. Asked about ex-M.P. Sanjay Nirupam wanting to contest the Mumbai north-west seat, Mr Raut said individuals may have their ambitions, but the final picture will emerge after talks are held at the national level. The first official talks are expected to be held in New Delhi on Friday. Mr Raut said efforts are being made to the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi led by Prakash Ambedkar a part of the INDIA alliance.
Meanwhile, MNS chief Raj Thackeray called on CM Shinde on Friday. Indications are that Mr Shinde is trying to use the MNS to checkmate the Shiv Sena (UBT)