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Maharashtra Lok Sabha Battle: Hectic Seat-sharing Talks in Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi, Ruling Mahayuti Too Finalising Formula – News18


In the MVA, both the Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT) want to contest the South Central Mumbai seat. (File pic/PTI)

A senior leader of Maha Vikas Aghadi told News18 that talks are in the final stages, as negotiations on a few seats like Bhiwandi, Mumbai South Central, Ramtek, and Nashik are still on

Members of the opposition alliance Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra are conducting hectic meetings every week to finalise a seat-sharing formula so that the Congress can get clearance for the constituencies and candidates from their high command and the coalition can kick off campaigning in the state for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

A senior leader of Maha Vikas Aghadi told News18 that talks are in the final stages. “Only a few seats still have to be discussed. Once that is done, we expect that by this week we may hold a press conference and announce it,” he said.

According to sources within MVA, talks are going on for seats like Bhiwandi, Mumbai South Central, Ramtek, and Nashik. Once the matter is settled, the top leadership of the alliance is likely to hold discussions with Prakash Ambedkar of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), as this time the three-time MP and Dalit leader has shown interest in fighting against the BJP-led bloc by joining the MVA.

According to sources, Ambedkar has already submitted a proposal to MVA, saying his party wants to contest at least 27 Lok Sabha seats. He also wants the MVA to give tickets to at least 15 OBC candidates and three from minority communities. MVA member Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) is already in alliance with Ambedkar and is confident of further positive talks with him. Top MVA leaders Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar, Nana Patole, and Balasaheb Thorat are likely to hold discussions with Ambedkar.

As per a source, one seat which is yet to be finalised is the South Central Mumbai Lok Sabha constituency. Chief minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena’s Rahul Shewale represents this seat. In the MVA, both the Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT) want to contest this seat. The Congress says it is a party tradition, but Shiv Sena (UBT) feels it has a natural claim as it has beaten the grand old party here in the previous two elections.

Sources also indicated that Mumbai Congress chief and former state minister Varsha Gaikwad has shown a willingness to stand in the polls from here because her late father Eknath Gaikwad used to contest from this seat. Also, the constituency includes areas like Dharavi, Dadar, Sion, Wadala, Mahim, and Chembur, with a significant number of Dalit voters. Sources say the Dharavi redevelopment issue, which is on the boil, may also help Varsha Gaikwad fetch more votes. The Shiv Sena (UBT) has not yet decided on a candidate for the seat, but there are reports that former Rajya Sabha member and party office bearer Anil Desai could get picked.

MVA partners Congress and Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar are in a tussle over the Bhiwandi constituency. The seat is adjacent to the Thane Lok Sabha constituency, and the area was seen as a bastion of the Shiv Sena. But after the party split, Shiv Sena (UBT) doesn’t have a huge influence in Thane, though its leader Rajan Vichare is the MP here. The Bhiwandi Lok Sabha seat is with BJP’s state minister Kapil Patil. He won the seat in 2014 and then again in 2019. Before 2014, Patil was in the then-undivided NCP.

Another interesting seat is Nashik. The undivided NCP and Shiv Sena have traditionally fought each other here. Now, both Shiv Sena (UBT) and NCP-Sharadchandra Pawar are claiming this seat, which is being held by Eknath Shinde’s party.

While the state’s ruling Mahayuti comprising the Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiv Sena, and NCP is not holding alliance meetings, sources say discussions are underway. According to them, the BJP central leadership has given a target of 45 seats to the state unit. In 2014, the BJP contested 24 seats in Maharashtra and won 23, while Shiv Sena contested 20 and won 18. The Congress contested 22 seats and won two, while the NCP contested 21 seats and won four.

In 2019, the BJP contested 25 seats and won 23, while Shiv Sena contested 23 and won 18. The Congress contested 25 seats and won one, while the NCP contested 19 seats and won four.

A source also indicated that the formulas of the 2014 and 2019 general elections would not come into play this time due to the splitting of the original Shiv Sena and NCP.



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