With less than two months to go for the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly elections, BJP president Amit Shah is arriving in Mumbai on Thursday for a meeting of the party's state core committee against the backdrop of deadlocked seat-sharing talks with ally Shiv Sena. This would be Shah's maiden visit to the city after taking over as BJP president.
But, rumour mills are rife that he won't be visiting Uddhav Thackeray's residence to discuss seat-sharing issue. Shiv Sena has been pressurising BJP to give it more credence in the assembly polls after its defeat in by-polls in Bihar to 'secular' alliance.
.@AmitShahOffice visit to Mumbai tomorrow has sent Shiv Sena into a tizzy. Thackeray's residence doesn't figure on his iteneiry so far.
— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) September 3, 2014
The visit is aimed at giving a pep talk to BJP leaders and workers ahead of the crucial Assembly polls in which the party is seeking to dislodge the 15-year-old Congress-NCP coalition government in Maharashtra, still smarting from a humiliating defeat in Lok Sabha polls in the state.
The Sena-BJP-led 'Mahayuti' had bagged 42 of the state's 48 Lok Sabha seats, reducing NCP to 4 and Congress 2, the ruling alliance's worst-ever performance. Apart from attending a meeting of the state BJP's core committee at the residence of Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Vinod Tawde, Shah will also address party workers at the Shanmukhananda Hall in the evening.
He is also slated to visit the famous Lalbaugcha Raja Ganpati Mandal in Lower Parel and the Ganesh Mandal represented by Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar. However, there is no official word on his meeting Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray so far.
Encouraged by its remarkable success in Lok Sabha elections, BJP has been insisting on greater number of seats than it had contested in the 2009 Legislative Assembly polls. In 2009, Shiv Sena had contested 169 seats and BJP 119, bagging 44 and 46 seats respectively in the 288-member house.
There has been no headway in talks between the seat sharing talks between the two parties and several smaller allies, including RPI (Athavale), have expressed concern over the delay. However, both BJP and Shiv Sena leaders have been insisting that things would be sorted out.