Amidst the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi engaged in a crucial one-hour phone call with Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on February 22nd, 2024.** This conversation comes at a time when seat-sharing negotiations for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra remain deadlocked, particularly regarding eight key constituencies.

Discord Over Mumbai Seats

Sources reveal that the Congress desires to contest three of Mumbai’s six Lok Sabha seats: Mumbai South Central, Mumbai North Central, and Mumbai North West. In contrast, Uddhav Thackeray reportedly demands 18 Lok Sabha seats across the state, including four in Mumbai itself: Mumbai South, Mumbai North West, Mumbai North East, and Mumbai South Central. This discrepancy in demands has created a significant hurdle in reaching an agreement.

Uncharted Territory for Maha Vikas Aghadi

The current seat negotiations between the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance, comprising Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena (UBT), Sharad Pawar’s NCP, and the Congress, represent uncharted territory. Formed in 2019 despite ideological differences, the alliance has successfully agreed on nearly 40 seats. However, the remaining eight constituencies remain a sticking point.

Shifting Power Dynamics and Party Concerns

seats in Maharashtra, winning 18, including three in Mumbai. However, the party’s alliance with the BJP ended months later due to power-sharing disagreements. Subsequently, the Shiv Sena split, leading to the Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s collapse and the formation of a new BJP-led government under Eknath Shinde.

Similar internal fractures have impacted other MVA parties. Sharad Pawar’s NCP witnessed his nephew Ajit Pawar joining the Eknath Shinde-BJP government, while the Congress lost prominent leaders like Ashok Chavan and Milind Deora to the BJP. These defections have further complicated the seat-sharing negotiations.

Thackeray Demands More, But All Parties Seek Survival

Sources suggest that the Congress defections have emboldened Uddhav Thackeray’s party to seek a larger share of seats in Mumbai. Nevertheless, all parties involved, including Thackeray, Pawar, Gandhi, and Mallikarjun Kharge, reportedly understand the crucial nature of this alliance for their individual survival in the upcoming elections.

Congress’s Recent Deals and Ongoing Negotiations

The Congress has recently finalized challenging seat-sharing agreements with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party. Additionally, efforts are underway to secure a deal with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been hesitant to relinquish more than five seats in her state.

Uncertain Future and Potential Implications

The outcome of the ongoing negotiations between the Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT) will significantly impact the MVA’s strength and performance in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. While Rahul Gandhi’s intervention signifies the importance placed on this alliance, the path toward a successful agreement remains uncertain. The potential implications of a deadlock or a compromise deal require close observation in the coming days.

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Riya Sen, an experienced editor at Atom News, is passionate about health and politics reporting. Riya Sen commitment to promoting well-being and highlighting political developments adds a valuable dimension to our coverage, ensuring our readers stay informed and engaged in current affairs.