Mumbai, May 29 (IANS): Taking umbrage at the claims from various Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders on different seats for the Lok Sabha elections, senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Chhagan Bhujbal advised all leaders to keep mum on the issue before the media, here on Monday.
"The top leaders of Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT) and NCP will sit together and make a decision on the issue of seat-sharing for the LS polls... I appeal to all the MVA leaders to refrain from making any statements, claims, counter-claims on any seat through the media," urged Bhujbal.
His statement came in the wake of the three allies staking claims on various constituencies, the latest being Pune, depending on their perceived strength or the choices of the respective leaders.
For instance, Leader of Opposition (NCP) Ajit Pawar covets the Pune LS and others in western Maharashtra, Sena (UBT) is eyeing at least three LS seats in Mumbai, plus more in Konkan and Mumbai Metropolitan Region area, the Congress is openly desiring to contest maximum seats in Mumbai, Pune, Vidarbha, etc.
In the past fortnight, several 'seat-sharing' figures have been thrown up in the media -- 16-16-16, 19-17-12, 20-16-12 -- but the top leaders of the three MVA parties have outright dismissed these alleged 'formulae'.
Jumping into the MVA fracas, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Nitesh Narayan Rane claimed that prior to the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, the Sena (UBT) will merge with the NCP.
Even the ruling ally Shiv Sena of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his supporters have staked claims to various seats as per their liking, including Amravati, Aurangaabad, Nashik and others.
"Sanjay Raut has himself taken this proposal to the NCP President Sharad Pawar twice that the ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray's Sena (UBT) wants to contest the next elections on the NCP's (Clock) symbol... The Congress has to be concerned for itself now instead of getting involved in all these numbers in the seat-sharing drama," said Nitesh Rane contended.
Meanwhile, the Sena (UBT) gave another dimension to the entire issue by predicting that the next Assembly and parliamentary polls in Maharashtra could be conducted simultaneously, though the MVA partners have not yet reacted to this.
In the 2019 general elections, of the total 48 LS seats, the BJP bagged 23, its former ally Shiv Sena netted 18, and on the Opposition side, the NCP got four, the Congress AIMIM and Independent secured one each.