Maharashtra: Shiv Sena’s Chief Minister dream adds to suspense

BJP, Sena still to iron out wrinkles, say party insiders

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Uddhav addresses party workers in Mumbai on Saturday

Despite assertions by the BJP and Shiv Sena that they will form an alliance for the October 21 assembly elections, the suspense continues over the tie-up. 

While Uddhav Thackeray and BJP state president Chandrakant Patil at separate events on Saturday said that the seat-sharing announcement would be done in a day or two, the Sena raised the issue of chief ministership, a sticking point between the parties. 

“I have given promise to party supremo late Bal Thackeray that one day, Shiv Sena Chief Minister will form the government in Maharashtra. I will work hard to fulfil that promise and for that, I want your active support,’’ he told a gathering of party workers from all 288 assembly segments. 

Insiders from BJP and Sena told DNA that the seat-sharing talks were delayed due to lack of understanding between the parties as well as friction over the exchange of few seats. While Sena is believed to have given up its earlier demand of 144 seats, it is not ready to settle below 126. Sources said the formula currently under consideration is: BJP to contest 144 seats, 18 by its allies and 126 by Sena.

Sena has apparently stuck to its demand for the deputy chief minister’s post and key portfolios from BJP as part of the seat-sharing arrangement. Insiders said this issue is still pending.

Thackeray reminded BJP that the Sena as a trusted ally had followed the alliance dharma during the Lok Sabha elections in which the BJP won 23 and Sena got 18 seats in Maharashtra. He said it is now BJP’s turn to adhere to the alliance dharma and arrive at a respectable formula to retain power in the state. 

“Shiv Sena has never indulged in backstabbing. Whenever the party strikes a poll alliance, it works religiously. After the alliance, the party will work for the success of BJP in seats in its quota. At the same time, the BJP needs to work in full strength for Sena’s victory,’’ Thackeray said. 

Meanwhile, a BJP minister who did not want to be identified said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other core committee members are scheduled to meet party president Amit Shah on Sunday. ‘’There is every possibility that the BJP president will give his approval to the seat-sharing agreement with the Sena and a formal announcement will be made on Monday or later.’’

Sticking Points

  •  Sources said Shiv Sena is not ready to settle below 126 seats, though it has accepted to play the second fiddle
  •  However, the party has stuck to its demand for the deputy CM’s post and key portfolios


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