Bharatiya Janata Party continued to mount pressure on its long-time ally the Shiv Sena by discussing observers’ report from Maharashtra’s all districts ahead of much awaited seat-sharing between the two for assembly polls.
Though it said it discussed seats where it has been contesting over the years, the BJP is learned to have shortlisted names for the remaining segments in case ‘fragile-than-ever’ alliance ends in view of BJP’s demand for a half share in the 288 seats.
BJP’s shenanigans are expected to unsettle Sena further because the party’s mouthpiece Saamna said in its editorial on Monday that their alliance was bound to stay intact because of its basic foundation of Hindutva. “The resurgent Sena has digested the poison repeatedly. The BJP knows that we two are bound by the thoughts of Hindutva and we will never separate.”
The development in the BJP's state parliamentary board which met Monday is crucial in view of party’s national president Amit Shah’s visit here on September 4. Sources said state BJP has prepared a report for the total 288 seats for Shah’s perusal. Shah too is not too keen on appeasing Sena much, and has left senior leaders from both sides confused over his plans to meet the Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray during his day-long visit. State president Devendra Fadnavis said Shah was not scheduled to interact with Thackeray, but his party colleague Vinod Tawde said the two would definitely meet.
BJP has been flexing muscles after its stupendous Lok Sabha show. It has stopped playing a kid brother to Sena in the state politics, and asked for 144 seats, 25 more than what it has been contesting for more than two decades. Sena has taken equally rigid position taking a two-decade-old alliance to its most weakened stage ever. The two have not started talking seat-sharing yet, though Fadnavis tried explaining BJP’s position to Thackeray in a meeting that lasted till wee hours on August 27.
Fadnavis said the BJP had not yet demanded 144 seats officially, but admitted the party workers wanted the party to demand so. “Our only concern is for fair distribution because we have other four small allies to be accommodated from our (Sena & BJP’s) respective shares.
Fadnavis said the state parliamentary board (which met Monday) would explain ground reality to Shah. “We will seek his (Shah’s) guidelines in all matters related to Assembly polls.”
When asked, Sena leader Diwakar Raote, who addressed a press conference on Monday, refused to comment on the BJP’s posturing. One of the allies, Swambhimani Paksha expected the Sena to meet its demand for 12 seats in a couple of days. Party’s leader Sada Khot said Thackeray has promised him a fair share.