Cong-NCP, Sena-BJP talks head nowhere in Maharashtra

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 12 2009, 02:13am hrs
Saffron parties-BJP and Shiv Sena-have yet to strike an electoral alliance as the duo have stuck to their guns. While BJP has agreed to leave the politically crucial South Mumbai and Yavatmal (where a large number of farmers suicides have been reported) to the Sena, the latter is having a tough bargain with the former over the middle class dominated Kalyan and the muslims and other backward class (OBC) dominated Bhiwandi which is a powerloom town in Thane district.

On the other hand, there is no substantial development in the seat sharing understanding between the ruling Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). As both the parties have started interviews with the aspirants in their respective headquarters in Mumbai, no meeting took place between the duo on seat sharing. Congress party has threatened to go alone and contest all 48 Lok Sabha seats if the NCP keeps on demanding 24 seats and also continues to portray its president as the next prime minister.

As far as the seat adjustment is concerned, Sena is not in a mood to leave more than 22 seats to BJP, which is its electoral ally for over two decades. Besides, Sena is not interested to vacate its claim over Bhiwandi as well as it wants Kalyan constituency from BJP. A senior Sena leader told FE on Monday Till morning both the parties have arrived at a consensus where BJP offered to leave its claim over South Mumbai, Kalyan and Yavatmal and in return Sena proposed to leave Bhiwandi to BJP. However, during the day differences between the two surfaced and the talks remained incomplete. Talks will resume only after two-day Holi celebrations.

BJP leader on a condition of anonimity said that even though his party wants its alliance with Sena to continue, the Sena should give its assurance that such an alliance will be for next five years and the Sena will not ditch BJP-led NDA in a situation if Sharad Pawar is to be supported for the coveted post of prime minister.