The BJP-Sena alliance, which almost seemed to have patched up on Wednesday night took a drastic turn on Thursday with the BJP announcing a split, alleging that Sena was not ‘flexible’ and stuck to a fixed seat sharing formula.
So, what really went wrong between the allies of 25 years?
It all began after the Shiv Sena started projecting Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as its CM candidate. The Sena also felt insulted for having been given a single and insignificant ministry to their MP Anant Geete.
BJP did not take this very well and insisted the party which gets more numbers should get the coveted post. But in doing so, the BJP demanded a half share in the 288 seats. It said the two major parties should get 135 each after giving up rest of the seats to smaller allies. However, Sena after much negotiation had stayed put on the 151 figure.
BJP was also accused of sidelining the Sena after the LS polls.
PM Narendra Modi visited Mumbai twice, but did not meet anyone from the Sena even once. Also unlike the era of the late Bal Thackeray, when former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee or LK Advani would consult him on important matters, the current BJP leaders did not do any such thing anymore.
Another reason that may have affected the saffron alliance was BJP cosying up to Raj Thackeray. Following the 2009 debacle, when MNS ate into saffron votes, BJP senior leader Nitin Gadkari even approached the MNS chief to partner with BJP. This certainly irked the Sena.
Ultimately, on Thursday, a formula of 151 seats for Sena, 127 for BJP and 10 for smaller allies was almost sealed when talks started falling apart. It was decided that the smaller allies will contest one seat on the BJP’s name and three on Sena’s.
This would be in addition to their separate share of 10 seats, which they would fight on their own.
This did not work when the BJP apparently lost its cool while negotiating “exchangeable seats” — those it did not won in the past five polls — which the Sena denied.