Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Friday that the Bharatiya Janata Party will contest 148 out of the 288 seats in the upcoming Assembly elections, while ally Shiv Sena will contest 126, PTI reported. Smaller parties in the alliance will contest 14 seats, Fadnavis said in a joint press conference with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Fadnavis said that despite differences, the BJP and Shiv Sena share the “common thread” of Hindutva, and will retain power following the elections. The Assembly polls are scheduled to be held on October 21, and results are due on October 24.
Fadnavis said that the “mahayuti”, or grand alliance, comprising the BJP, Shiv Sena and smaller parties will secure an unprecedented victory in the polls. The chief minister predicted that Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya Thackeray will win from the Worli seat with the highest margin of votes. He also asked all rebel BJP leaders to withdraw their nominations within the next two days.
The BJP had earlier in the day released its fourth and final list of candidates for the elections, dropping ministers Eknath Khadse, Vinod Tawde and Prakash Mehta. However, Fadnavis said the senior party leaders had not been dropped, but were only re-assigned responsibilities.
Earlier in the day, Khadse denied reports that he was joining Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party. “I’ve not met or had any conversation with Sharad Pawar for a year,” Khadse said. “I don’t know why is he spreading the false story of me joining NCP or even contacting him. I don’t know what responsibility party the BJP will bestow on me but I’ll remain dedicated worker of the party.”
The BJP and Shiv Sena had contested the 2014 Assembly elections separately. The BJP had won 122 seats and the Shiv Sena 63. The two parties had formed an alliance following the elections in order to come to power. The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, which had also contested separately in 2014, are expected to fight the polls together this year.
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