Maharashtra Opposition Seat Deal Finalised, Congress To Contest 18 Seats

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Sources told NDTV the Sena (UBT) will contest four of Mumbai's six Lok Sabha seats, one of which - possibly the Mumbai North East seat - could be given to the VBA.


The opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance in Maharashtra has settled on a seat-share deal for the 2024 Lok Sabha election, sources told NDTV Friday morning, adding that a formal announcement is likely within 48 hours.

Sources said the Shiv Sena faction led by ex-Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will contest 20 of the state's 48 seats. The Congress will contest 18 and the Nationalist Congress Party unit led by Sharad Pawar will field candidates for the other 10.

The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi - a regional party that earlier demanded five seats - will receive two from the Sena (UBT)'s share, and an independent, Raju Shetty, will be backed by Mr Pawar's outfit.

Sources also said the Sena (UBT) will contest four of six Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai, one of which - maybe the Mumbai North East seat - could go to the VBA.

Last week sources told NDTV talks for 39 seats had been resolved, with big differences over Mumbai's South Central and North West seats - the Congress and Sena (UBT) both wanted these.

READ | Congress, Maharashtra Allies Agree Deal For 39 Of 48 Seats: Sources

It is unclear how that dispute has been resolved.

In the 2019 election the Sena (then undivided and allied with the BJP) contested 23 seats and won 18, including Mumbai South Central and North West. The Congress contested 25 and only won Chandrapur, while Sharad Pawar's NCP (also then undivided) fought from 19 seats and won four.

The BJP dominated that poll, winning 23 of the 25 seats it contested.

This time around the BJP will be backed by rebel factions of the Shiv Sena and NCP, which are led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, each of whom led revolts - which were seen as being backed by the BJP - within their parties and then joined the saffron outfit.

This deal comes after Congress MP Rahul Gandhi reached out to Mr Thackeray and Sharad Pawar.

READ | Rahul Gandhi's One-Hour Talk With Uddhav Thackeray Amid Seats Row

The agreement now reached is another big step forward for the INDIA opposition bloc that is trying to tie-up agreements as quickly as possible, given the election is due in a few weeks.

The Congress-led group - established in June last year for the express purpose of defeating Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party - has struggled to close deals, with state parties pushing the national outfit to secure a larger share of seats in each instance.

The Congress' dismal electoral record over the past decade - in particular its poor showing in 2014 and 2019, in which combined it won fewer than 100 seats - has made its job that much harder.

In Bengal, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress even severed all talks with the Congress after it continued to negotiate her 'final' offer of two seats - the same (and only) two it won last time.

READ | Trinamool Says Will Fight  All 42 Bengal Seats, Dashes Congress Hopes

There have, since, been big boosts for INDIA.

The Congress and SP have divided UP's 80 seats 17:63, and the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party closed a pan-India accord.

READ | Congress On Seat Share Speed Run, Deals Done With AAP

The turning point, many believe, was the Congress-AAP's dramatic win in last month's Chandigarh mayoral election. The INDIA allies contested together and emerged victorious, even if they needed the intervention of the Supreme Court to counter the Returning Officer's "murder of democracy".

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