BJP discusses seat sharing pact for Maharashtra with Sena NCP

New Delhi, Mar 9 (PTI) Union Home Minister Amit Shah held discussions for seat sharing in Maharashtra for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections with coalition partners Shiv Sena chief Eknath Shinde and NCP president Ajit Pawar.
     Shinde and Pawar -- chief minister and deputy chief minister of Maharashtra -- held talks with Shah here late Friday. Senior BJP leader and Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was also present in the meeting.
     Shinde-led Shiv Sena, Pawar-led NCP and the BJP will contest the Lok Sabha elections in alliance in Maharashtra which sends 48 members to the lower house of Parliament.
     BJP had won 23 of the 25 seats it had contested in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, while its then alliance partner -- undivided Shiv Sena -- won 18 seats of the 23 seats it had contested.
     The undivided NCP, as part of the opposition alliance, had contested 19 seats and managed to win four.
     The Shiv Sena, which had joined hands with the Congress and the NCP to form a coalition government after the assembly elections in Maharashtra in 2019, split in 2022 when Eknath Shinde walked away with a majority of the party's MPs and MLAs and joined hands with the BJP.
     The BJP, which was the single largest party after the last state elections, formed a coalition government with Shinde as the chief minister.
     Similarly, Ajit Pawar walked away with a majority of the MLAs and joined the BJP-Shiv Sena government last year
     The Shinde and the Ajit Pawar factions have been recognised as the 'real' Shiv Sena and 'real' NCP' by the Election Commission and the Maharashtra assembly Speaker.
     The BJP is keen to contest more than 30 seats in the upcoming elections as it eyes the 370-mark in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
     Differences have emerged among the coalition partners over certain Lok Sabha seats that the BJP has staked claim to such as South Mumbai and Thane (won by Shiv Sena) and Raigad (NCP).
     The Sena MPs from South Mumbai and Thane have aligned with the Thackeray faction, while Raigad was won by Sunil Tatkare, who is with the NCP led by Ajit Pawar.
     A few other seats have also emerged as contentious among the alliance partners.
     The meeting with Shah went on past midnight and the three leaders -- Shinde, Ajit Pawar and Fadnavis -- returned to Maharashtra soon after.
     Shah had held meetings with Pawar, Fadnavis and Shinde on Tuesday during his visit to Mumbai.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)