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Maharashtra Opposition Seat Pact Final, Team Thackeray To Contest 21 Seats

Ten days before the election, leading bloc leaders in Maharashtra said that the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition had struck an agreement for the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

The majority of seats, 21, are awarded to the Shiv Sena faction, which is led by former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. The Congress is given 17, and 10 seats are set aside for Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party group.

Four of Mumbai’s six seats—North West, South Central, South, and South East—will also be contested by Mr. Thackeray’s Sena. North and North Central are the other two that the Congress will challenge.

In the 2019 election the Bharatiya Janata Party and the (then undivided) Sena won three each; the two were allies then but fell out, in dramatic fashion after the Assembly election later that year.

Bhiwandi, Sangli Row Settled

The Bhiwandi and Sangli seats – which all three claimed, threatening to derail talks – have been given to Mr Pawar’s NCP and Uddhav Thackeray’s Sena. Congress leader Nana Patole called the issue “resolved” and said, “… our workers will work to make the MVA candidates victorious in both seats.”

“… we saw what (this) dictatorial government (a reference to the BJP) has been doing. Our workers have worked wholeheartedly, across the country, to fight against these dictatorial people,” the Congress’ Maharashtra unit boss said, “The aim is to throw out the BJP. We will work for this.”

“There comes a time when we have to move forward… we have reached this deal with the aim of winning the election. We have done this… now the people will decide,” Mr Thackeray said.

Mr Pawar said candidates (for seats not yet announced) will be announced soon.

The Bhiwandi candidate has been confirmed as the Thackeray Sena leader Chandrahar Patil, a former wrestler. The seat was won by the BJP’s Kapil Patil in the 2014 and 2019 elections.

Similarly, Sangli was won by the BJP’s Sanjaykaka Patil in the two previous elections, and, like party colleague Kapil Patil, has been given the chance to win his seat for a third consecutive time.

Sangli was a Congress stronghold; the party dominated the seat from 1962 to 2009.

Apart from Bhiwandi, NCP faction will also contest the family stronghold of Baramati, which will see a high-profile clash between sitting MP Supriya Sule, who is Sharad Pawar’s daughter, and Sunetra Pawar, who is the wife of Mr Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar, who led the rebellion that broke the party.

Prakash Ambedkar’s VBA Not Included

The MVA’s seat-share deal comes as the MVA and Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi – which has substantial support among the Dalit communities – have failed to agree on a deal.

The VBA held prolonged talks with the tripartite alliance but an agreement was not forthcoming.

Mr Ambedkar initially wanted five seats for his party and then upped that demand to eight, most of which had been allotted to either the Congress or Mr Thackeray’s Sena faction.

He also accused the MVA of “trying to use VBA for promoting dynastic politics, which we tried to resist…”, and, speaking to NDTV, took a jibe at the bloc, accusing it of “hiding something”.

“There is no openness between them; the question is whether they will stay together,” stated Mr. Ambedkar, the grandson of the Father of the Constitution and a famous Dalit, BR Ambedkar.

Get the latest news updates and stay informed with FELA NEWS!

(Source: NDTV)

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