Highlights

  • Lok Sabha 2024 poll: INDIA bloc churn
  • Raut set Maha terms for Congress
  • Seat sharing talks to begin form zero: Raut

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Seat sharing with Congress for 2024 Lok Sabha has to start from zero: Raut

In the 2019 general elections, the undivided Shiv Sena under Uddhav Thackeray had contested 23 seats and won 18.

Seat sharing with Congress for 2024 Lok Sabha has to start from zero: Raut

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut asserted on Friday that his party would contest in 23 of the 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra next year and said their talks with the Congress on seat-sharing has to start from zero as it has "not won any seat" in the state.

Talking to reporters, Raut said discussions on the seats won by the Shiv Sena, the Congress and NCP will be held later.

In the 2019 general elections, the undivided Shiv Sena under Uddhav Thackeray had contested 23 seats and won 18. However, it split last year after Shinde rebelled against Thackeray. Later, the Election Commission allowed the Shinde faction to keep the name ‘Shiv Sena’.

While the NCP under Sharad Pawar won four seats in the last Lok Sabha polls, the Congress had bagged just one seat. Its lone MP from Chandrapur, Balu Dhanorkar, died earlier this year.

Raut said the Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders, including Thackeray, have been holding talks with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal.

“We have said that we have been contesting 23 seats in Maharashtra and (we will also contest) Dadra Nagar Haveli (as Sena has a sitting MP from there),” he said, stressing that “Shiv Sena is the biggest party” in Maharashtra. Congress is a national party, he said.

“We have decided that seats won by us will be discussed later. The Congress does not figure in it as it has not won any seat in Maharashtra. So talks with the Congress have to start from zero in the state,” Raut said.

Taking a swipe at state Congress leaders for their remarks that the Shiv Sena has now split, Raut said though the Congress did not break it lost polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

“A party's (strength) is (tested) on the ground. Our party workers are with us. Even if our party split, we won the Andheri assembly bypoll and you (the Congress) won the Kasba Peth assembly bypoll (in Pune) with our support,” Raut said.

Former Maharashtra Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam hit back at Raut, saying the Shiv Sena (UBT) cannot win any seat on its own. It needs the Congress and vice versa, Nirupam said.

Nirupam said that out of the 18 seats won by the undivided Shiv Sena last time, more than a dozen MPs have “deserted” the Uddhav Thackeray camp.

“They don’t even have the guarantee whether the remaining MPs will stay with them or not,” Nirupam said.

Raut said Congress remains an important part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi and the three parties – Sena (UBT), Congress and NCP faction under Sharad Pawar – will contest together.


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