New Delhi: The BJP is adamant about taking lion’s share of seats vis-a-vis its oldest ally Shiv Sena for the fast approaching assembly elections in Maharashtra. According to party sources, the refrain in the saffron party is that the saffron outfit could contest 160 to 170 assembly seats and leave about 110 for the Sena. Sources in the ruling party in the poll-bound western state and also at the Centre maintained that the BJP is also against ‘accepting’ any Sena proposal to name Aditya Thackeray as ‘deputy chief minister’ nominee for the alliance. “At best, we may say, let the polls be over; then we can think of Chief Minister or Deputy Chief Minister….But Sena will not bargain anything so big from where they can find going back a very difficult proposition,” senior leader in the know of things said. However, sources said things are at preliminary stage and leadership in both Sena and BJP will have a series of meetings before taking a final decision on the matters. Maharashtra has 288 assembly seats. The BJP is also confident that compared to 2014 performance – the party will put up a much better show this time in western Maharashtra. “The BJP is experiencing a growth graph across the nation and also in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena will have to see reason and thus we will have stakes for over 160 seats. The logic is simple,” the source said.
Earlier on the eve of elections, BJP and Sena had decided to work out seat sharing formula on 50-50 basis. The saffron party has, however, changes its stance as the party recorded a convincing victory in recently held Lok Sabha polls. In terms of NCP’s political future and the challenges it can throw to the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the coming polls, the senior leader in the know of things said, “It is obvious in recent months, the NCP has lost ground. Much of it has to do with Ajit Pawar factor in that party and also an obvious question from the people that can NCP stalwart Sharad Pawar justify the non-performance of earlier Congress-NCP regime”. “Most of the problems in Mumbai including challenges due to rains and lack of metro connectivity started years back. What did Sharad Pawar do,” the source asked. The BJP leaders maintain the recent criticism by Sena leaders on country’s economic condition and issues of governance in Maharashtra is also aimed only to mount pressure on the Lotus party.