Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Friday said his party will contest 23 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, but the ally Congress said even preliminary seat-sharing talks had not yet started between the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners.
Talking to reporters, Mr Raut said he, along with Sena (UBT) leaders Uddhav Thackeray and Aaditya Thackeray, held talks with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, senior leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi as well as AICC general secretary K C Venugopal before the meeting of the Opposition bloc INDIA in the national capital earlier this week.
“We will contest 23 seats because we have always been contesting the same number of seats,” Mr Raut said.
In 2019, the undivided Shiv Sena was part of the BJP-led NDA alliance. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party is now part of the MVA which includes the Congress and Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party.
Mr Raut did not say anything about the number of seats the Congress and NCP will contest.
“Seat-sharing has almost been decided. Talks will take place in Delhi because there is no single (Congress) leader in Maharashtra to take decisions and if there are leaders they do not have the authority to take decisions,” he added.
But speaking elsewhere, Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar said seat-sharing between the three MVA allies will be finalised in Delhi.
“Preliminary talks have not even begun. A final decision will be taken by the central leadership,” he said when asked about Raut’s statements.
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Shiv Sena (UBT),Sanjay Raut,Lok Sabha