BJP Says Will Jointly Contest Maharashtra Polls With Eknath Shinde’s Party
The Bharatiya Janta Party and the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will contest all 288 Assembly and 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra in alliance with other NDA constituents, BJP state president Chandrashekhar Bawankule said on Saturday.He said no formal decision had been taken so far on sharing of the seats.His comments came amid reports that Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena was getting a raw deal regarding the allocation of seats for the upcoming polls. “The BJP and the Shiv Sena will contest 48 Lok Sabha seats and 288 Vidhan Sabha seats in alliance with other constituents of the NDA,” Mr Bawankule said. The Assembly elections are due in Maharashtra in October 2024.He said the BJP and the Shiv Sena have started preparations to win 200 seats under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and in coordination between Chief Minister Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.The Election Commission recently recognised the Shinde-led faction as Shiv Sena and allotted it the party’s bow and arrow election symbol.Queried whether BJP will contest 240 seats and Shiv Sena 48 (of 288), Mr Bawankule said, “There was a meeting related to this and there will be meetings in future”. “A clip was circulated by twisting it. The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will contest 288 seats and win 200. No (seat-sharing) formula has been decided so far. The Central and state leadership will decide on it,” he said in response to reports.Meanwhile, Maharashtra unit Nationalist Congress Party president Jayant Patil said the 2024 Assembly polls will be all about the BJP versus the Maha Vika Aghadi, and there will be a question mark on the existence of the Shiv Sena led by Shinde.Talking to reporters in Mumbai, Patil said he feels the BJP will contest all the 288 Assembly seats on its symbol as he expressed confidence that the Shinde group will cease to exist.