There is no dispute around seat-sharing within the Maha Vikas Aghadi and the next discussions on it will only be held in 2029, said Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday, reported The Indian Express.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi, the state-level Opposition alliance, was formed after the 2019 Assembly elections. The alliance mainly comprises Uddhav Thackeray’s faction of the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar).

On Wednesday, Thackeray’s party released a list of 16 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Maharashtra has 48 Lok Sabha seats. Following this, the Congress raised an objection, urging its ally to reconsider its nominations.

Congress Legislative Party leader Balasaheb Thorat said that the Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena should not have declared candidates for Sangli and seats in Mumbai, constituencies where seat-sharing negotiations were still on.

The Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) has fielded wrestler Chandrahar Patil from Sangli. The Congress has announced Vishal Patil, grandson of former Chief Minister Vasantdada Patil, from the seat.

On Sunday, Thackeray said at a press conference in Delhi that the seat-sharing talks within the Maha Vikas Aghadi have been finalised.

“Even when we were in alliance with the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party], we used to have a tussle till the last moment,” he said. “But once it was finalised, we used to work unitedly. Similarly, the MVA [Maha Vikas Aghadi] seat-sharing has been finalised after meetings of over two-three months and even they have now accepted it.”

Responding to the BJP calling the Opposition INDIA bloc rally in Delhi a “thago ka mela” (a fair of thieves), the former chief minister said: “The expose on electoral bonds has proven who is a real thief.”

“The Bharatiya Janata Party has now turned into a Bhrashta [corrupt] Janata Party, which has only corrupt individuals in it,” said Thackeray. “Indians are on the other side while the corrupt are with this party.”

The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, or INDIA bloc, is a coalition of Opposition parties that is taking on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the Lok Sabha polls.

The alliance held a mega rally in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on Sunday as a show of strength ahead of the general elections.

Electoral bonds were monetary instruments that citizens or corporate groups could buy from the State Bank of India and give to a political party, which could then redeem them. The Supreme Court had on February 15 struck down the scheme as unconstitutional, stating that the electoral bonds could lead to quid pro quo arrangements between donors and political parties.

The court had directed the State Bank of India to issue details of the political parties that received electoral bonds from April 12, 2019, and submit them to the Election Commission. Subsequently, the poll panel made the data public. It showed that the BJP has received the lion’s share of political funding through the scheme.

‘No friendly fight’

On Friday, Congress chief spokesperson Atul Londhe told The Indian Express that they have proposed a “friendly fight” in constituencies that emerged as a point of contention in the seat-sharing discussion.

”The Sangli and Bhiwandi issues have gone to our party high command,” said Londhe. “In case both the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) do not agree, we proposed a friendly fight of sorts.”

However, the proposal was rejected by the Thackeray-led faction of Shiv Sena.

Sanjay Raut, the spokesperson of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), said if “friendly fights” are allowed, it would give rival candidates an ideal opportunity to win the seat.

“Congress is a mature party and therefore we hope it will not take any such decision,” said Raut. “We will not agree to it.”