Riding high on its sweeping victory in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded more seats from the Shiv Sena — its ally — for the coming Maharashtra assembly polls.
In their first seat-sharing meeting on Friday, the BJP demanded 15 seats more than it had in the 2009 polls. Shiv Sena leaders, however, remained non-committal on the demand, refusing to answer media queries over the issue.Rift denied
While leaders from both the parties denied of any differences within the saffron alliance, a BJP leader on condition of anonymity said his party would not back down from its demand for 15 more seats.
Few of the seats from the BJP’s list include Vile Parle and Mumbadevi in Mumbai; three seats from the State’s tribal belt in Thane and Nashik and Tasgaon in Sangli district which was won by Maharashtra Home Minister R. R. Patil in the 2009 elections.
“No such demands have been discussed yet. But possibility of swapping a few seats in the subsequent discussions cannot be ruled out,” said Sena leader Subhash Desai, after the meeting.Grand alliance
The BJP’s Maharashtra unit chief, Devendra Fadnavis, told the reporters that a grand alliance of the Republican Party of India (Athawale group), Swabhimani Paksh of farmers’ leader Raju Shetty, Shivsangram Party and Rashtriya Samaj Party will be contesting the assembly elections as a cohesive unit.
“Each party will get its due share of seats and everyone will be satisfied at the end,” he told the reporters, after the meeting. In 2009, the Sena contested from 171 seats while the BJP from 117.
However, a senior BJP leader said both parties were keen that the alliance should continue. “The old seat-sharing pattern has to change this time due to new political equations and new allies, though we will not stretch it too far to break the alliance,” he said.