MUMBAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party which lost the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Assembly elections just a few days ago is now under pressure from ally Shiv Sena for Maharashtra polls.
The Uddhav Thakarey-led Shiv Sena has started to flex its muscles and demanded 155 seats in the 288-member Assembly, say sources. The BJP, though, is reluctant with the number and is ready to give 138 seats to them and contest on 150 seats itself.
However, sources add that the saffron party is ready to hold discussions with the estranged ally to arrive at a mutually agreeable number.
In the current Assembly, the BJP has 121 MLAs while the Sena has 63, making a total of 184 legislators. For a majority in the 288-member Assembly, the government must have 145 MLAs.
Of the remaining 104 seats which neither of the parties won in the 2014 elections, Sena is seeking 85 seats to contest which would take its tally up to 155.
Sena has also demanded that the Assembly polls be held with Lok Sabha election in 2019. The tenure of the Maharashtra Assembly is due to expire in November 2019, nearly six months after the end of Lok Sabha term.
BJP chief Amit Shah met Shiv Sena leaders on Wednesday and tried to pacify and pursue them to contest the general elections together. "I am sure the Shiv Sena will be with us in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, talks are on with them," Shah said on Wednesday in Mumbai.
Maharashtra has 48 Lok Sabha seats. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had won 23 seats, while the Shiv Sena had bagged 18 constituencies.
Sena chief Thackeray had recently announced that his party would contest the elections solo, which has left the BJP all the more anxious as it does not want division of votes.