Sunday, 17 August 2014

BJP demands more than 150 assembly seats from Sena

MUMBAI: The NCP may have signalled a climbdown in its seat-sharing talks with the Congress, but the BJP appears to be on a collision course with its allies, with the party telling the Shiv Sena that it will not settle for less than 156 seats.

A senior BJP leader has claimed that the earlier seat sharing formula of 171:117 has lost significance in the changed political scene and that it should be amended for the ensuing Lok Sabha polls. "In the last one-and-a-half decade, we surrendered our six LS seats to the Sena. Now, we should get at least 36 seats more. We have made it clear to the Sena leadership that we are keen on contesting 153 to 156 seats and leave the rest to the Sena," he said.

The leader even threatened that if the Sena did not agree, the BJP was ready to contest 200 seats and leave the remaining 88 for RPI (Athavale), Vinayak Mete's Shiv Sangram and Mahadev Jankar's Maharashtra Samaj Paksha. "No doubt the top leaders will take a decision, but our grassroots workers feel it is high time that the BJP contested the assembly polls independently," he said.

The BJP leader admitted that a fortnight since a meeting presided over by party president Amit Shah, there has been a stalemate between the BJP and Sena. While Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said he would prefer to negotiate directly either with home minister Rajnath Singh or Amit Shah, both Singh and Shah had told state leaders that the seat-sharing formula should be settled at the state level. "There has been no progress in talks over sharing seats as Uddhav has not approached any state leader," the BJP leader said.

The leader pointed out that the BJP had held three surveys in the state to ascertain the mood of voters and party workers. The report of a state-based agency, which was part of the exercise, predicts that if the BJP contests the polls independently, it will win 140 seats, while a Delhi agency's report predicts 155 seats and another agency 160. The leader said notwithstanding the surveys, there seems to be a vertical split within the BJP over contesting the polls independently. Some leaders feel it will be unethical to snap the more-than-three-decade-old alliance, while some said it was time to assess the BJP's strength here. "From the LS polls, it is clear that the era of coalition politics is over," he said. Mete’s Shiv Sangram,Shiv Sena



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