Eknath Shinde, Ajit Pawar camps squabble over seat-sharing in key seats: Sources

April 02,2024

In the latest friction point between the Mahayuti alliance partners in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and the Ajit Pawar faction of NCP are aggressively vying to contest from Nashik and Dharashiv constituencies while the BJP has its eyes locked on the Satara seat for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, sources said.

Due to the latest flashpoint between the Mahayuti partners (BJP, Shiv Sena-Shinde faction and NCP- Ajit Pawar faction) on seat sharing, NCP state chief Sunil Tatkare had to cancel his press conference at the last minute which was supposedly organised to announce seats.

The Shinde faction leaders have been protesting against the BJP and the NCP (Ajit Pawar) for drooling over seats occupied by their incumbent MPs.

In a bid to vacate the Satara seat for BJP's Udayan Raje Bhosale, a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Ajit Pawar faction is demanding Nashik seat as a quid-pro-quo.

Nashik seat, however, was represented by Hemant Godse of the Shinde camp.

Also, the Dharashiv seat is being claimed by the Ajit Pawar camp, which traditionally belongs to the Shiv Sena.

Maharashtra cabinet minister Tanaji Sawant from the Shinde camp, is staking a claim to this seat, effectively keeping the Ajit Pawar faction from announcing the seat-sharing deal.

On the other hand, former minister Suresh Navale alleged that the BJP was employing pressure tactics on the Shiv Sena, which they would not tolerate.

"The MPs put their careers at stake when they joined Chief Minister Shinde after a spilt in the party. There will be strong reactions from our cadre", he added.

Ashish Shelar, BJP Mumbai chief, said that they were holding talks in an effort to identify candidates, who could garner maximum votes. "Hence, it would take time to reach consensus. There is no friction between us", he claimed.

Meanwhile, Jitendra Awhad, MLA from the Sharad Pawar camp, claimed that the BJP would shun off both its allies in the state after 'using them'.

Despite a series of deliberations from Shinde and both Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, the seat-sharing pact has not yet been finalised in Maharashtra.

Now, whether or not the Mahayuti manages to seal the seat-sharing formula before the Opposition alliance, Maha Vikas Aghadi, (Congress, Shiv Sena-Uddhav Thackeray camp and NCP- Sharad Pawar camp) sort out their differences over several seats, remains a challenge for the ruling alliance.