According to Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule, the seat-sharing formula for the 2024 assembly elections has already been decided, with the BJP contesting around 240 seats and the Shiv Sena contesting 48. “The BJP will contest 240 seats, while the Shiv Sena of Eknath Shinde will contest 48.”
The assembly has 288 seats. By declaring these seat-sharing numbers, a political controversy broke out. Bawankule made the statement at a meeting of BJP office-bearers late on Friday, but on Saturday he claimed that the seat-sharing formula wasn’t finalized.
With the intention to control the damage, he said his statements were misinterpreted. Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Gaikwad claimed the Sena will fight for at least 130 to 140 seats. “As Shiv Sena, we are going to contest at least 130 to 140 seats.” “Since that party (BJP) is bigger than us, surely it will fight for more seats. But we, as Shiv Sena, will not contest less than 125 seats. Party leaders should censure him (Bawankule) for making such statements,” Gaikwad said.
Senior Shinde Shiv Sena leader said, “I am sure the BJP will dump Shinde Sahab in due time.” They are just waiting for the elections to happen; if by fluke they manage to win the most seats, they will bend Shinde to their terms. Shinde is not a mass leader; he is known in Thane and Mumbai, but beyond Maharashtra, no one knows him. BJP can easily sideline him.”
The BJP’s veteran leader told Afternoon Voice under the condition of anonymity that “the BJP has its typical way of functioning. Devendra is a tall leader with extensive administrative experience, whereas Shinde is merely a rebel with no administrative experience. He was in need of time; what the BJP needs is Thackeray’s name associated with them; gradually, they will pitch Raj, but Shinde might become irrelevant.
Bawankule said he had made the statement that the BJP was planning to contest 240 seats in the upcoming assembly elections while guiding office-bearers of the party in terms of election preparedness so that they could be ready. On Saturday, Bawankule said his speech had not been shown entirely. He clarified, “We will fight all 288 seats together in the assembly polls and 48 Lok Sabha seats as the NDA.” The seat-sharing will be decided by the central and state leadership. There have been no talks about this so far.
We are only preparing; no matter who gets the seats, if we have to fight and win, we have to prepare for all the seats. In an alliance, we work for our party and alliance partners, too. So they will benefit from our preparedness, and vice versa.” The Shinde-led Sena has 40 MLAs, while the Sena (UBT) has 16. The BJP has 105 MLAs. The Sena and BJP in government have the support of around 20 independents and MLAs of smaller parties.
In the video released from the meeting, Bawankule was heard saying, “Hundred percent, we will get around 150 MLAs. The Vidhan Sabha has 288 seats. Thus, in the 2024 assembly elections, the BJP will contest 240 seats, while 48 seats will be given to Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena. They don’t have more than 50. So they will get 48 or 50 seats. So there will be tremendous work for all the teams; they will have to travel across all districts for two days each.”