Mumbai, Jan 16: The BJP is ready to forge an alliance with the Shiv Sena if the party is allotted 105 seats for the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, a senior party leader said on Monday. The first meeting for negotiating the seat sharing formula between the Sena and BJP was held on Sunday at the residence of BJP state chief Raosaheb Danve at Nariman Point here.
The BJP leader, without revealing Sena's proposal, said cognisance of the proposal was taken and the talks then shifted towards providing transparent administration to Mumbai. "Negotiations have begun from a 50:50 formula for seat sharing. Thereon, negotiations would proceed to arrive at a seat sharing formula taking into account the BJP's assessment that it can comfortably win at least 80 seats," the BJP leader said, adding the next round of meetings will take place on Wednesday.
"We will not stretch the negotiations too far and will adjust with the Sena as our central leadership has given us a nod to go ahead with the alliance if given 105 seats," the BJP leader said. The BJP source further said if the party has to share seats from their own allotted quota to its Mahayuti allies like the Republican Party of India (Athawale) group, they will ask RPI (A) candidates to contest on BJP's symbol.
At the meeting, the Sena deputed its seasoned strategists Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai, ex-MLC Ravindra Mirlekar and MLC Anil Parab. The BJP deputed Housing minister Prakash Mehta, School Education minister Vinod Tawde and Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar, its seasoned Mumbai hands to do the hard-bargaining with the Sena.
Going by the composition of the two negotiating teams, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has hand-picked MLC Anil Parab who is well versed with electoral laws and is entrusted with the party affairs in western and eastern suburbs of Mumbai. Mirlekar is an trusted old guard of the Sena, well versed in administration of not just the party in south Mumbai, but also that of the BMC. But the linchpin of them all is MP Desai who is well versed in electoral mathematics and credited to be Sena's master strategist and negotiator.