Sources said that the alliance has decided on its seat-sharing formula for 2024 elections.
NEW DELHI: The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA), a combine of Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction, has kicked off its preparations for the upcoming general elections. The alliance has, according to sources, decided on its seat sharing formula for 2024 elections. The trilateral group would let the Uddhav-led faction contest on the maximum number of seats out of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state. According to the guidelines prescribed for the seat sharing formula, the Thackeray faction would field its candidates on 19 to 20 seats. The NCP will contest on 14 and Congress will fight it out on 14 to 15 seats. The Thackeray-led entity may also get a bigger share in Mumbai. Out of 6 Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai, Thackeray could field its candidates on 4 seats and Congress and NCP will contest on one seat each.
Party insiders claim the extra seats given to the Thackeray-led faction will put pressure on the BJP. It will push the saffron party to give more seats to the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, and this would favour the MVA alliance. However, the BJP, which had won 23 seats out of 25 in the pre-poll alliance with Shiv Sena in 2019, is better equipped to win Lok Sabha seats in view of the Modi factor. The saffron party is expected to increase its seat share from 25 in an alliance with Eknath Shinde. However, if it had to lessen any seats from there, which is unlikely, BJP may have a more dissatisfied cadre.
Primarily, as observed by poll strategists, the BJP usually has had direct contest with Congress over its prospective seats in the state and alongside NCP, has had competition with Shiv Sena. “These are the equations in the state and now that the three parties are together, it will be an uphill task for the saffron brigade to decide how to play out this ever important electoral game. MVA would want to contest against the Shinde-led Sena more than BJP. They think they can easily triumph over the split group led by Shinde,” a political analyst said.
In addition to that, there is another party in alliance with Uddhav Thackeray, the Vanchit Bahujan Party led by Prakash Ambedkar. The party is expected to get its seat share from Thackeray’s share. A party insider said, “They could get one seat from Thackeray and it would be against Ramdas Athawale’s Republic Party of India.”
Moreover, with the NCP allying with the ruling coalition of NDPP and BJP in Nagaland, it was believed that it will weaken the alliance in Maharashtra where the NCP is partner with the Congress and Uddhav-led faction. However, analyst do not find any significant bearing of NCP’s alliance in northeast with the BJP on Maharashtra. NCP leader said, “The 7 MLAs would have switched sides anyway.”
A political analyst said, “BJP won’t be able to pick up the issue. The state is too far. Many voters in Maharashtra don’t even know about the northeastern state. So it will have no significant bearing on campaigns. And even if BJP picks up the issue, what will they say?”
He further added, “It would have been a problem had Congress been on the opposite. They would have picked up the issue saying that NCP has joined hands with BJP in northeast and is no more a secular party. But the Congress would be in alliance and would not be able to speak against NCP. Thus, this issue will not play out in Maharashtra politics.”