Maharashtra revenue minister Chandrakant Patil has said that Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would contest 135 of the state’s 288 Assembly seats each while 18 would be set aside for allies.
Patil, a close associate of BJP president Amit Shah, made this statement in an interaction with mediapersons while touring drought-hit regions of the state yesterday. He also said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was the “natural choice” of the people, the BJP and the Sena for the top post again.
This is the first time the saffron party has spoken about the sharing of Assembly seats after the conclusion of the Lok Sabha election. In the recently-concluded Lok Sabha polls, the saffron parties together won 41 of the 48 seats. While the BJP secured 23 of the 25 seats it contested, the Sena managed victory in 18 of the 23 seats it fought.
Assembly elections in Maharashtra is scheduled to be held between September and October this year. “Both Amit Shah and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had given a word that BJP and Shiv Sena will fight the assembly polls together. Our party doesn’t go back on its word,” Patil said.
“We have 122 sitting MLAs and eight independents are supporting the BJP, whereas the Shiv Sena has 63 sitting MLAs. We will get only five additional seats,” he added.
Stating that the chief minister has balanced relations with Shiv Sena, Patil said, “He has good equations with Uddhav Thackeray. When Saamana (Sena mouthpiece) wrote critical editorials, he would tell the party not to make their criticism public in the newspaper, but express it internally,”