BJP-Shiv Sena target 200-seat win in next Maha Assembly polls

by IANS |

Mumbai, March 18 (IANS) A day after his purported statements on seat sharing ignited a row, the state Bharatiya Janata Party President Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Saturday clarified that along with its ruling ally, Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the target would be to bag at least 200 seats out of 288 in the next Assembly elections.

The statement came after Bawankule's remarks -- that the BJP would contest 240 seats and give the remaining 48 seats to Shiv Sena, with no mention of the independents -- ignited a row with the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi attacking him.

Even ruling partner Shiv Sena legislator Sanjay Shirsat indirectly slammed Bawankule's utterances saying he must have said it in 'over excitement' and pointedly asked: "Are we stupid to contest only 48 seats?"

Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut said that Bawankule's statement is part of a design to finish off all smaller parties and even the Shinde Shiv Sena will not be spared.

State Congress President Nana Patole said "what is in (Bawankule's) tummy was on his tongue" and now Shinde will have to watch out.

Going a step further, Nationalist Congress Party state President Jayant Patil said this is an indicator that 'Shinde group' will be wiped out by the BJP.

"The BJP will insist that the Shinde Shiv Sena should contest the next elections on its (Lotus) symbol... That will be the beginning of the end of Shinde Sena," Patil warned darkly.

Bachu Kadu, the leader of the 10-strong independent legislators supporting the Shinde regime, said that "we are only offering support to the government".

"We are only supporting the Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis from outside, and are not part of their alliance. When we join their alliance, then the issue of seat-sharing will crop up and we will see," Kadu declared.

Rattled by the unexpected fallout, Bawankule Saturday hurriedly contended that his statement was 'selectively shown and misinterpreted' to convey a wrong impression.

"There has been no discussion on any seat-sharing formula with the Shiv Sena so far... But we shall target to win over 200 seats in the elections," Bawankule claimed.

Incidentally, on Thursday, the MVA had also faced a similar fracas over an alleged seat-sharing formula for the 48 Lok Sabha constituencies -- 21 for Sena (UBT), 19 for NCP and eight for the Congress -- but all parties had dismissed the figures circulating in the electronic media as 'fake'.

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