Days after committing in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the saffron alliance is inevitable for the Assembly polls in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said an official announcement would be made in the next two days. However, he made it clear that the formula for sharing of seats between his party and the BJP will be finalised after detailed deliberations.
“Certain things are being worked out. The official announcement of the BJP and the Sena contesting the elections jointly will be made in the next couple of days,” Thackeray told reporters after NCP MLA Avdhut Tatkare, nephew of Raigad Lok Sabha MP Sunil Tatkare, joined the Sena at his suburban residence.
Thackeray, while sharing a stage with the PM at a function in Mumbai on Saturday, said the saffron alliance was “atal” (inevitable) and it will return to power once again. “The alliance is ‘atal’ (inevitable). We want power.. No doubt about it, but we need it for developing the state. The ‘yuti’ (NDA alliance) will return to power in the state once again after polls. I am glad that PM Modi is providing facilities for growing population in the state,” he had said.
On Monday, Thackeray didn’t comment on the tricky issue of devising a mutually agreeable seat-sharing formula with the BJP. “Certain things such as exchange of seats etc. are still being worked out. There will be several rounds of meetings to finalise the seat-sharing formula and other responsibilities,” the Sena chief said. He also evaded queries on whether his son and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray will be the next chief minister in the event of the NDA returning to power once again.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, believed to be the blue-eyed boy of the BJP top brass, had repeatedly asserted that he would return as the CM of the “yuti” (NDA alliance). As per reports, the Sena wants the BJP to adhere to the 50:50 formula, which means both the parties contesting equal number of seats–135 each. Of the total 288 seats, the BJP and the Sena have agreed to allocate 18 seats to smaller allies, but a formal deal is yet to be sealed.
However, poll managers of the BJP are arguing for more seats to accommodate leaders from Opposition parties and its “growing political might”. Recently, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil had indicated that his party might not settle for 135 seats as the saffron party wanted to accommodate rebels from other parties and in view of its growing footprint.
In the 2014 assembly elections, which both the parties contested separately, the BJP won 122 seats and the Sena 63. The 2019 polls are slated to be held in October.