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Shiv Sena's pre-poll demand to BJP: Maharashtra CM's post

In what seemed to indicate a break-through for a pre-poll tie-up, the Shiv Sena sought that the BJP must concede their demand for the Maharashtra chief minister's post as a precondition for seat-sharing talks for the Lok Sabha elections. This is an apparent climbdown by the Shiv Sena, which had earlier announced its decision to contest elections sans an alliance with the BJP, and even compared overtures by its ally to "stalking."

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Sanjay Raut
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In what seemed to indicate a break-through for a pre-poll tie-up, the Shiv Sena sought that the BJP must concede their demand for the Maharashtra chief minister's post as a precondition for seat-sharing talks for the Lok Sabha elections. This is an apparent climbdown by the Shiv Sena, which had earlier announced its decision to contest elections sans an alliance with the BJP, and even compared overtures by its ally to "stalking."

The Sena is reportedly seeking that the seat-sharing formula for the assembly polls is hammered out at the time of the Lok Sabha poll pact. BJP leaders claim that despite the Shiv Sena's bravado, many elected representatives of the party are keen on a tie-up.

"Ours is a one-line formula. You (BJP) will have a bigger role at the Centre, and we will be pre-eminent in Maharashtra," said Sanjay Raut, Rajya Sabha MP and executive editor of the party organ 'Saamna' told DNA.

"The figures may vary, but the Shiv Sena wants its chief minister in Maharashtra if the BJP wants its prime minister on our support," said Raut, when asked about if the parties were working on a solution wherein the Sena would contest 143 seats, leaving aside 145 for the BJP in the state assembly.

Raut said the BJP was insisting that the Shiv Sena ally with it in the Lok Sabha elections as it wanted Narendra Modi to be re-elected as the prime minister. "Are we your slaves (to play a secondary role in Maharashtra)?" he questioned, adding that the BJP had not sent a formal seat-sharing proposal to them.

In its national executive in Mumbai on January 23, 2018, the Shiv Sena had resolved to contest all future elections alone, sans an alliance with the BJP, and set itself an ambitious target of winning 150 seats in the state assembly and 25 in the Lok Sabha.

Shiv Sena sources admit that with the party taking repeated swipes at the BJP, whose leaders have also chosen to retaliate at them, a pre-poll alliance may not rid the two parties of the bad blood at the grass-roots level.

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