The BJP will remain the ‘big brother’ of the ruling alliance in the state and is likely to contest more seats than the Sena.
New Delhi: BJP president and Union home minister Amit Shah on Thursday met core group leaders of its Maharashtra unit, that is yet to officially announce the seat-sharing formula with its ally, the Shiv Sena, for the Assembly polls. While the BJP will remain the “big brother” of the ruling alliance in the state and is likely to contest more seats than the Sena, the latter, sources said, has been offered the post of deputy chief minister.
BJP working president J.P. Nadda, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Union minister Nitin Gadkari, national general secretary (organisation) B.L. Santosh and party general secretaries Bhupender Yadav and Saroj Pandey also attended the meeting at the BJP headquarters. Mr Yadav is the party’s election in-charge for the state. Mr Shah had on Wednesday held a similar meeting with the BJP’s Haryana core group leaders to finalise the candidates in that state. Maharashtra and Haryana will go to the polls on October 21. The BJP’s central election committee is likely to meet on September 29, after which the first list of candidates is expected to be released.
On Thursday, Olympic medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh and Akali Dal MLA Balkaur Singh joined the BJP amid indications that the party could field them in the Haryana polls.
Sources said the Maharashtra leaders also discussed with Mr Shah the options for at least 70 Assembly seats where leaders who have joined the BJP from other parties are also lobbying for tickets. The BJP, the sources said, has deputed leaders in case any BJP leader seeking a ticket tries to rebel against official candidates if he/she is not fielded.
While the Sena had been pushing to contest an equal number of seats, the suggestion has been rejected by the BJP, which won 122 Assembly seats out of the total 288 in the last Assembly polls. The Shiv Sena, which contested separately, had won 63 seats and had allied with the BJP after the elections.