The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena’s alliance in Maharashtra is going through a rough terrain. It is not clear whether the two parties would come together to fight the upcoming assembly elections like the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 or part ways like in 2014.
Shiv Sena is trying to corner the BJP over Aarey land, induction of leaders from the Indian National Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Ram temple issue.
This comes amid talks of the BJP seeking more seats than the Shiv Sena, both the parties are also vying for the Chief Minister’s post.
BJP is in a steering position to run the alliance and has said that the Sena needs to look at things practically in view of the Amit Shah-led party’s vote share going up in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Reports suggest that the Shiv Sena is ready for 135 each seats formula in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, while leaving 18 seats for their allies. But, the BJP is not ready to accept it.
A senior Sena leader said, “The BJP is not willing to give more than 120 seats to the Sena and we don’t approve of it. Before the announcement of alliance in February this year, Uddhavji and BJP president Amit Shah agreed to contest equal number of seats in the Assembly polls.”
“It is a fact that our leader (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi’s image has helped some of the 18 Sena Lok Sabha members to retain their seats. Hence, we expect to contest more seats than the Sena, and it is based on the (latest) trends,” he said.
The Shiv Sena is trying to up the ante by opposing the proposed tree felling in Aarey Colony to make way for a Metro car shed, where public sentiments are against the move. It also took a jibe at the BJP over its move to induct a number of Congress and NCP leaders, and also reiterated its demand for the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
While BJP knows it has upper hand at the negotiation table. Another BJP leader said that this was a “trick” the Sena was playing “to put us on the back foot and negotiate for more seats with us”.
“What the Sena needs to understand is that going by the mandate we got in the Lok Sabha polls, it needs to think practically. The BJP has increased its strength in rural areas as well,” he said.
Shiv Sena is not ready to accept the 128 seats offer of the BJP and want a minimum of 135 seats.
Both the parties are facing acute problem of plenty as they have acquired around 30 leaders from Congress and NCP to better prepare for the assembly elections, it would be difficult for them to adjust all of them.
Uddhav Thackeray on Friday took a jibe at BJP and said that he is waiting for the Maharashtra Chief Minister to make a list of Shiv Sena candidates too, on which seats they could fight.
Devendra Fadnavis hasn’t opened his cards yet and said “discussions are on”.