23 Feb 2024

Lok Sabha Election-2024: Rahul Gandhi Calls Uddhav Thackeray; Will Maharashtra Seat Sharing Deadlock End?

In the midst of seat negotiations within the INDIA bloc for the upcoming Lok Sabha Election-2024, Rahul Gandhi engaged in a one-hour phone conversation with Uddhav Thackeray regarding the impasse over eight out of Maharashtra's 48 seats. The discussion comes during Rahul Gandhi's ongoing Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

The Congress is aiming to contest three out of Mumbai's six Lok Sabha seats – Mumbai South Central, Mumbai North Central, and Mumbai North West. On the other hand, Uddhav Thackeray is reportedly seeking to contest 18 Lok Sabha seats in the state, including four in Mumbai – Mumbai South, Mumbai North West, Mumbai North East, and Mumbai South Central.

Negotiations over seats have become a challenge for the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, comprising Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena, Sharad Pawar's NCP, and the Congress. While an agreement has been reached on nearly 40 seats, discussions are currently stuck on eight.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the undivided Shiv Sena contested 22 out of 48 seats and emerged victorious in 18, including three in Mumbai. Following the state polls, the Shiv Sena ended its 25-year alliance with the BJP, leading to the formation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which later collapsed after the Shiv Sena split and formed a new government with the BJP.

Recent defections of prominent Cong leaders have complicated seat negotiations 

The recent defections of prominent Congress leaders in Maharashtra, such as Ashok Chavan and Milind Deora, to the BJP have further complicated seat negotiations for the opposition allies. Despite the challenges, Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar, Rahul Gandhi, and Mallikarjun Kharge are determined to find a resolution, recognizing the significance of the upcoming election for each party's survival.

The Congress has recently finalized challenging seat-sharing agreements with Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party. Efforts are also underway to secure a deal with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been reluctant to allocate more than five seats from her state's total of 42.

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