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Will Shiv Sena agree with the 50 per cent seat sharing proposal suggested by BJP for contesting BMC polls?

BJP has demanded 114 seats from Shiv Sena for contesting the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election. After emerging as the single largest party in the 2014 state assembly election BJP now is keen to contest 50 per cent seats for the civic body election. In the 2012, BMC election BJP and Sena had contested 63 and 138 seats respectively. However, this time around the saffron party doesn’t want to play second fiddle to Sena and has pitched for more seats. BJP wants to wrest the control of the BMC which is currently ruled by Shiv Sena. Since, BMC is Asia richest civic body the party wants to create space for itself in the city’s political landscape. BJP leaders have already had a second round of talks with Shiv Sena to sort out the seat distribution matter. However, both parties are yet to arrive at a consensus on this issue. Even Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had spoken to Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray about the seat sharing issue.

Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai said, “We already had a meeting with the BJP leaders. The BJP has put forward a demand of 114 seats for the BMC polls The list of candidates who are likely to contest the election will be shared between both the parties and final decision will be taken later.”

“Once we receive the list, we will hold internal talks which might take a day. Once that is done, we will once again sit with the BJP,” he said.

Anil Parab, Anil Desai and Ravindra Mirlekar had attended the meeting for Sena while Ashish Shelar, Prakash Mehta and Vinod Tawde had represented on behalf of BJP for discussing the seat sharing agreement.

If BJP contests 114 seats then Sena will be left with only 113 seats. On the other hand, Sena is reluctant to offer more seats to BJP. Sena is unhappy with the big brother attitude of BJP and has often attacked the party’s style of functioning through its mouthpiece ‘Saamna’. The party also had criticised the demonetisation drive undertaken by the Modi government.

Sena sources, citing internal polls, had earlier said that it was in the best interest of both parties to contest the BMC elections separately and, both being natural allies, there was likelihood of a post-poll alliance.

Currently, the BJP has 33 corporators while the Shiv Sena has 75 members. The Congress and the NCP have 52 and 13 members each, while the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has 28 members in the municipal body.

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