Mumbai Lok Sabha Seats: Sena UBT, Congress Seat Swap Offer Is Not For The Faint Hearted

Mumbai: Urmila Matondkar and Salman Khan were seen telling each other ‘Jaanam Samjha Karo’ in their 1999 film of the same title and guess what, after nearly 25 years, Congress is lip syncing the same lyrics to its Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance partner Shiv Sena UBT as the parties fight tooth and nail for some key Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai.

The MVA alliance is grappling with unresolved conflicts between the Congress and Shiv Sena UBT over key constituencies in Mumbai and western Maharashtra. According to reports, despite deliberations between top MVA leaders, including late-night discussions on Saturday, no consensus has been reached.

Sena UBT’s Offer For Congress

Shiv Sena UBT showed a willingness to concede two seats to Congress, which are Mumbai North and Mumbai North Central. However, Congress maintained its claim over Mumbai North West and Mumbai South Central. A Congress leader, while speaking to the daily, highlighted the challenges in winning the Mumbai North seat, pointing to the BJP’s stronghold in the area, even citing the unsuccessful bid with popular Marathi actress Urmila Matondkar in the previous elections.

Congress Lok Sabha candidate Urmila Matondkar, who made her debut in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the Mumbai North constituency, lost to sitting BJP lawmaker Gopal Shetty by more than 4.6 lakh votes.

According to reports, this time the Congress is adamant about securing Mumbai North West for Sanjay Nirupam, while Shiv Sena (UBT) has already endorsed Amol Kirtikar as its candidate, succeeding his father, sitting Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar. This clash further complicates matters, especially with Gajanan Kirtikar opting out of the race under the leadership of Shiv Sena’s chief Uddhav Thackeray.

Clash Over Kolhapur Seat

According to reports, another bone of contention is Kolhapur, which Shiv Sena (UBT) aims to retain, despite Congress’ traditional foothold in Sangli. The MVA has proposed Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, a descendant of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, as the Congress candidate for Kolhapur, adding to the alliance’s strife.

Amidst the discord, discussions regarding the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), led by Prakash Ambedkar, have also hit a roadblock. Both Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders have agreed to offer only four seats to VBA, despite Prakash Ambedkar’s rejection of the proposal. According to reports, Anandraj Ambedkar, Prakash’s brother, engaged with Sharad Pawar to explore alliance possibilities, with his party seeking the Amravati seat.

With elections to begin in just 44 days, ongoing rounds of talks between the MVA allies are expected to be heated up, ultimately reaching to a way out from the seat-sharing confusion. Mumbai is all set to witness the royal rumble of all major parties on six key constituencies in the city.

Uddhav Thackeray, on the other hand, is a tough negotiator and he seems to be playing the Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan title song from their 1994 hit Main Khiladi Tu Anari. Thackeray is reportedly convincing the Congress party that he knows the game here as the MVA finds itself embroiled in a seat-sharing confusion.

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