MUMBAI: The BJP and Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena have reportedly finalised a seat-sharing deal for contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha election 2019 in Maharashtra.
According to the seat-sharing formula finalised by the two parties, the BJP will contest on 25 out of total 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, while Shiv Sena will contest on remaining 23.
In the 2014 polls, the Shiv Sena had contested on 22 seats while the BJP fielded its candidates on 26 seats.
According to the agreement between the two parties, BJP will not field any candidate from the Palghar Lok Sabha constituency from where Shiv Sena will now contest.
Maharashtra Chief Minister had earlier held a seat-sharing discussion with Uddhav Thackeray and details of the meeting were also later shared with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, the sources said.
Sources also claimed that the two parties have also reached an agreement regarding the upcoming assembly elections in the state.
For the Assembly elections slated to be held later in the year, the BJP will contest on 145 of the total 288 seats, with the Shiv Sena getting the remaining 143 seats, sources told Zee News.
The seat-sharing formula also includes an agreement that the Sena would be allotted 6 to 7 seats that the BJP presently holds in the Maharashtra Assembly.
However, there is no official confirmation regarding the same as yet from the two parties.
The Shiv Sena has repeatedly said that any decision regarding seat-sharing formula will be finalised by its chief Uddhav Thackeray.
The Shiv Sena has been smarting since the BJP demanded more seats during the seat distribution talks ahead of the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections. The BJP, emboldened by its strong showing in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, pushed hard.
The two long-time allies parted ways and contested the assembly election on their own even as they remained partners at the Centre.
The decision, however, backfired for Shiv Sena. The BJP won 123 seats with its smaller NDA partners, while the Shiv Sena managed only 63.
What further helped the BJP in Maharashtra was the breakdown of the long-term alliance between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ahead of the elections.
The Shiv Sena then agreed to support a BJP government with Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister after the NCP offered to support a BJP government from the outside.
The reports of Shiv Sena deciding to fight the Lok Sabha election 2019 along with the BJP will surely give big relief to the saffron party which had been kept guessing by the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
The Shiv Sena had been maintaining that it would fight the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on its own and when asked by reporters whether it would maintain the alliance with the BJP, Shiv Sena had said, "Wait and watch."
But, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis always looked confident that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance would work out and that there was nothing serious to worry.