The stalemate over seat sharing between Shiv Sena and the BJP in the Maharashtra assembly polls yet to be resolved, Sena leader Sanjay Raut today said the talks are "more tedious" than the partition of India. The Sena has dug in its heels and demanded a fair share of the state's 288 seats, but the BJP is unwilling to oblige.
"We are discussing about Shiv Sena and whatever the result, you should be informed. We have said 24 hours are important instead of 24 hours ultimatum. This is as tedious as the division of India and Pakistan. 288 seats need to be distributed and Maharashtra is a big state," he told news agency ANI this morning.
Sources have told NDTV that the Sena is keen on getting at least 125 seats though it officially sticks to its demand of the 50:50 formula which works out to 144 of the 288 seats.
The BJP feels the Sena should not get more than 110 seats given its improved position after the last assembly election and the Centre's big move on Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP is pushing nationalism and the ending of special status of Jammu and Kashmir as a major election agenda.
"Why should nationalism not be an agenda? What is agenda of US elections? It is about building a wall between two countries. In every European nation what is the agenda? Agenda is nationalism," Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, questioning why the opposition is afraid of talking about nationalism.
Article 370, he said, was not just about Kashmir. "It is about India's integrity. Yes it will be our agenda," he added.
Reacting to the Sanjay Raut's comments reminding the BJP that the Shiv Sena came together after 2014 to provide stability instead of sitting in opposition, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said there was no point responding to the comment.
"They should have thought about it then," he told reporters.
Sanjay Raut was reminding the BJP about the situation in 2014, when the two parties ended their alliance and the BJP fell short of majority in the election that followed. But though the Sena later joined the government, it continued to criticise the government on multiple issues.
Sources say a final announcement on seat sharing is expected only after the inauspicious period of 'Pitrupaksh' ends on Saturday.
BJP chief Amit Shah's comment, calling for an NDA government in the state signals that the talks are still on. He made the comment in Mumbai on Sunday at an event to publicise the BJP's campaign agenda.
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