In a recent development, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut has set the tone for challenging seat negotiations between Shiv Sena and the Congress party in the Maharashtra version of the Opposition’s INDIA bloc. Raut asserted on Friday that the Congress party would need to start seat negotiations from “zero” as it had not secured any constituencies in the state during the 2019 elections.
The backdrop of this negotiation challenge stems from the 2019 elections when Shiv Sena, in alliance with the BJP, contested and won 18 seats in Maharashtra. However, the alliance faced internal fractures, leading to a split between the two parties just months after the electoral success.
A pivotal moment in this split occurred last year when Eknath Shinde, a prominent figure within Shiv Sena, caused a vertical division in the party. Shinde’s decision to align with the BJP garnered support from a significant portion of MPs and MLAs, resulting in a factional split within Shiv Sena. Despite this internal strife, the Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena, known as Shiv Sena (UBT), has maintained its alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress.
The political landscape in Maharashtra underwent a transformation with Eknath Shinde assuming the role of Chief Minister, while BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis became his deputy. This realignment of political forces underscored the dynamic nature of alliances and power-sharing arrangements in the state.
About Shiv Sena:
Sanjay Raut, addressing the seat negotiations, highlighted the significant disparity in electoral success between Shiv Sena and Congress in the state. Shiv Sena’s position is that discussions on seats won by the party, particularly the 18 seats secured in 2019, will be addressed separately and at a later stage than other seats.
Raut emphasized the regional prominence of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, asserting that it is the largest party in the state. He indicated ongoing positive discussions between Uddhav Thackeray and key Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, and Mallikarjun Kharge.
The complexities of Maharashtra’s political landscape, characterized by shifting alliances and internal party dynamics, set the stage for intricate negotiations as the INDIA bloc prepares for upcoming elections. The outcome of these discussions will undoubtedly shape the political landscape in Maharashtra and have broader implications for the Opposition’s unity in the region. As Shiv Sena takes a firm stance on seat negotiations, the political trajectory in Maharashtra remains a focal point of attention and speculation.