Political parties warm up for Maharashtra Assembly polls

Mumbai: As the countdown for upcoming assembly election has started, the political parties are now warming up and gearing up for the big show. While Congress and Nationalist Congress Party had a day-long meeting to finalise the seat sharing, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) met in late night of Tuesday to discuss the issue of alliance with Shiv Sena.

It is almost clear that the Election Commission of India will announce the election soon after the end of Ganesh festival on September 12. “The model code of conduct (MCC) will come into force soon after Ganesh festival and the voting is expected to be held on October 15. In 2014, the MCC was enforced on September 12 and voting was held on October 15 and counting was done on October 19,” said Sudhir Mungantiwar, finance minister.

The BJP core team met on Tuesday night to discuss the seat sharing issue with Shiv Sena. In an internal survey by BJP, the alliance led by BJP is projected to win 229 seats out of 288 seats in the state assembly. This survey also predicts that Congress and NCP could not jointly win more than 60 seats. The internal survey also gave a strong indication that BJP and Shiv Sena will finally forge an alliance to avoid the division of votes. BJP is trying to contest this election on issue of Article 370 and the decision of buying plots in Jammu and Kashmir is a clear signal for this.

Congress-NCP agree on 90% seats

The Congress and NCP leaders in a day long meeting has finalised the seat sharing formula for almost 90 percent seats. The meeting also discussed the strategy to stop desertion from both the parties. It was agreed that the seat sharing and finalisation of candidates will help to stop this desertion. The leaders of both the parties discussed in detail the names of possible candidates and their potential for victory. They also agreed to exchange seats with each other. As the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi is not willing to have an alliance with Congress and NCP, they decided to have talks with Bahujan Samaj Party, BRSP and other parties which are supported by OBCs. The meeting, which was held at official residence of leader of opposition in Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar, was attended by Maharashtra State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat, State NCP president Jayant Patil, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and NCP Mumbai president Nawab Mallik.

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