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BJP, Sena may seal poll deal tomorrow

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on September 22, 2019 Published on September 22, 2019

Home Minister Amit Shah kicked off the election campaign by attacking the Congress at a seminar in Mumbai on Sunday   -  Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

The Maharashtra Assembly election dates have been announced, but the ruling alliance BJP and Shiv Sena are yet to finalise on the seat-sharing arrangements.

However, with Home Minister Amit Shah visiting Mumbai on Sunday, the alliance could take a final shape by Tuesday, BJP sources said.

The Maharashtra Assembly has 288 seats, out of which BJP is holding 122 seats and Shiv Sena has 63.

A senior BJP leader told BusinessLine that unlike the last assembly elections, today BJP is in a much stronger position, therefore Shiv Sena will hard bargain for seats but eventually give in to the final seat-sharing formula. The current seats of both parties, which add up to 185, will remain undisturbed, which leaves 103 seats on which the talks will happen, the leader said.

The leader pointed out that of the 103, about 90 seats are likely to be equally divided between BJP and Shiv Sena, which will leave 13 seats for smaller parties, as BJP needs to accommodate smaller alliance partners such as Republican Party of India (Athawale), Shiv Sangram of Vinayak Mete, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, Raiyat Kranti Sangathan and Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha of Narayan Rane.

If the party high command decides to retain some more seats, which were earlier reserved for smaller partners, then BJP will fight in more than 167 seats. Today, BJP with its bold move on Kashmir, Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and economic incentives is on a very strong wicket. All its alliance partners don’t have much room to bargain, the senior BJP leader said.

BJP kicks off campaign

BJP party chief and Union Home Minister, Amit Shah kicked off the election campaign on Sunday afternoon by launching a blistering attack on Congress and former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Addressing a public seminar on withdrawal of Article 370 from Jammu & Kashmir, Shah said that this is the first election after the decision on Article 370. The parties who have opposed the withdrawal of Article 370 should be shown their place in the election.

He added that Nehru is to be blamed for the problem of Jammu & Kashmir as Sardar Patel integrated big territories such as Hyderabad and Junagarh, but the Jammu & Kashmir issue was handled by Nehru, which continues to trouble the country.

Published on September 22, 2019
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