Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Mahayuti Seat Sharing In Maharashtra A Hard Nut To Crack; BJP & Its Allies Remain Reluctant

New Delhi: The talks between the BJP and its allies in Maharashtra (Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar’s NCP) remained inconclusive in Delhi on Friday. The BJP appears to be unwilling to yield too many seats and wants to ‘compensate’ later for the adjustments made in the state assembly elections due later this year.

The meeting between senior BJP leaders with Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, state unit chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Union minister Raosaheb Danve on thrashing out a seat-sharing formula will continue on Monday. The party would resume discussions on the issue as it wants to announce some of the seats of Maharashtra in its second list.

The BJP had announced its first list of 195 candidates on February 2 and the central election committee of the party, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is likely to meet again on March 10.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won 23 out of the 25 seats it had contested. Its ally, the undivided Shiv Sena, had contested the remaining 23 and won 18. Following the split in the Shiv Sena, the Shinde faction had joined the BJP with 13 MPs.

However, the BJP wants to contest most of the seats on its own. Its past experience with ally partners in the state has been bitter and it does not want to again encounter a situation where the allies move away post elections.

Party leader Amit Shah, who on Wednesday held talks with Shinde and Pawar in Mumbai, along with Fadnavis, has told the two parties that they are keen on contesting more seats as they believe the emotive national issues that would be raised during campaigning would help them more.

BJP Reluctant On Giving More Seats To Allies

The BJP wants to contest around 34-35 seats but may have to settle for 30-32. The Shinde faction has been adamant on all its 13 sitting MPs getting seats. The Ajit Pawar group, which at present has two MPs in the Lok Sabha, may get four to five seats.

Shah reportedly told the allies to follow the equation of merit of candidates. He apprised both the Shiv Sena and NCP that the ruling alliance has a better chance of winning if maximum seats are fought on lotus symbol. Survey reports were laid out to assess the possible victory of sitting MPs from Sena and NCP.

The BJP also wants to retain its hold in the urban centres of Maharashtra and is said to be keen on contesting at least five seats in Mumbai. It is only willing to leave the lone seat of South Central Mumbai for the Shinde Sena MP Rahul Shewale and wants to contest all the remaining five on its own. The party may also change most of the candidates on these five seats.

Piyush Goyal Likely To Contest North Mumbai Seat

The word going around is that Union Minister Piyush Goyal may get to contest the safe seat of North Mumbai in place of sitting MP Gopal Shetty; Mumbai unit president Ashish Shelar may come in from North Central Mumbai in place of sitting BJP MP Poonam Mahajan; BJP may field a new face from North West Mumbai, which is at present represented by Gajanan Kirtikar of the Shinde faction; and Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar is likely to be fielded from South Mumbai. Manoj Kotak is likely to be the only sitting MP who may retain his candidature from North East Mumbai.

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