MVA Lok Sabha seat-sharing talks flounder, wrangling over 8 seats

Mumbai, Feb 29 – A seat-sharing solution continues to elude the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) nearly a month into negotiations, with at least eight Lok Sabha seats remaining a sticking point among the allies, political sources said on Thursday.

The chief MVA allies, the Congress, the NCP-SP, Shiv Sena-UBT, plus the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) and other smaller parties have held over six closed-door meetings to hammer out an amicable solution.

Sources in the three parties say that though a broad agreement has been reached on around 40 of the 48 parliamentary constituencies, there is a tussle over eight seats, including four in Mumbai.

The scenario became even more uncertain after Prakash Ambedkar’s VBA suddenly submitted a list of 27 seats and sought at least 15 OBCs and three minority candidates.

Party sources say that the final decision will be taken by the top leaders of the MVA constituents, implying state Congress President Nana Patole, NCP-SP’s supremo Sharad Pawar and SS-UBT’s Uddhav Thackeray.

The MVA allies are confident that they will work out a unanimously-acceptable formula by early March, well before the Lok Sabha election schedules are announced.

SS-UBT’s Sanjay Raut said on Wednesday that the VBA had submitted its letter which would be discussed, while Sharad Pawar said the MVA was keen to ensure the VBA’s participation in the Opposition bloc.

Several of the allies are privately irked by Ambedkar’s unilateral proposal to field Maratha leader and Shivba Sanghatana leader Manoj Jarange-Patil as an MVA-backed Lok Sabha candidate from Jalna.

After a series of developments, the Maharashtra government has ordered a SIT probe against Jarange-Patil’s seven-month-long agitation for Maratha quotas and most Opposition parties have also started snubbing him.

Responding to the VBA’s proposal, Jarange-Patil claimed late on Wednesday night that the Maratha quota stir was not a personal political agenda and he had no interest in contesting the Lok Sabha polls.


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