Will 52-year-old Nitin Gadkari's elevation as BJP president change the equation among saffron alliance partners in Maharashtra, is a question being discussed in state political circles.
The over two-decade long Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, engineered by slain BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, has held till date. Now, with Gadkari at the helm of affairs in BJP, there is growing speculation about its status in the backdrop of recent developments.
The latest development, which could damage the already fragile ties between Sena and BJP, is reports that Sena did not give its second preference votes to BJP during the voting for Legislative Council seats from local self-government bodies on Friday.
For the two seats from Mumbai, which saw a triangular fight, the Shiv Sena and the Congress seem better placed than the BJP, with the Sena, which has the highest number of corporators in the civic body, not casting second preference votes for ally BJP.
Sena had nominated former Leader of the Opposition Ramdas Kadam, who lost the Assembly elections from Guhagar in Raigad district, while the BJP had fielded incumbent MLC Madhu Chavan. Congress fielded trade union leader Bhai Jagtap, who lost the Assembly polls from suburban Jogeshwari.