Amid a row over Sanjay Raut’s remarks that Shiv Sena (UBT) would contest 23 of the 48 seats in upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra, party chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said he won’t do anything that would hurt the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance.
His remarks are seen as a snub to Raut whose “23 seats for Shiv Sena” statement ruffled many feathers in Congress, an ally in the Maha Vikas Aghadi.

Talking to reporters here, Thackeray said the ticket distribution will take place smoothly and that he has spoken to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and party leader Rahul Gandhi.

A day before, Raut had caused a flutter saying Shiv Sena (UBT) would contest 23 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.

He had also said the seat-sharing talks with Congress would have to “start from zero” as the latter had “not won any seat'” in the previous elections, a statement drawing a sharp response from state Congress leaders.

“I will not do anything that will hurt the MVA. So I will not pay attention to those who say anything. Until the Congress president speaks on this issue (seat-sharing), till that time, neither I nor anyone from my side will comment,” Thackeray said.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) chief also said the ticket distribution will take place smoothly.

“The discussion between the Sena (UBT) and Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar faction) has been smooth,” he added.

Thackeray also said efforts are on to have a joint meeting with MVA members- Shiv Sena (UBT), the Congress, and NCP (Sharad Pawar faction)- and Prakash Amedbkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi.

While Shiv Sena (UBT) and VBA have already forged an alliance, no call was yet taken on the induction of the Ambedkar-led outfit in the MVA fold and any electoral tie-up.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Shiv Sena (Undivided) won 18 of the 23 seats it had contested in Maharashtra while its ally BJP bagged 23 of 25 constituencies. The NCP (undivided) emerged victorious on 4 seats while Congress’ tally was just one seat.

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