The Shiv Sena blinked first. Two days after threatening to break the 22-year-old saffron alliance in Maharashtra, the Sena agreed to leave the Chimur byelection seat to the BJP. In return, the BJP promised to surrender Kalyan in Thane district, an assembly seat it has been winning for 28 years.
The deal was sealed with the blessings of Bal Thackeray after a meeting of BJP and Shiv Sena leaders at Matoshree, his Bandra home, and a telephonic conversation between Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray and BJP chief Rajnath Singh.
Rajnath pacified Uddhav and said his party would treat the Sena as a valued partner in the NDA, sources said. BJP leaders Gopinath Munde, Vinod Tawde and Eknath Khadse went to Matoshree. Significantly, Sena MP Sanjay Raut and state BJP president Nitin Gadkari, the hardliners on either side, were not present at the meeting.
“I am happy a solution was worked out,” Munde said.
Uddhav said the Sena had got the better deal. “They have taken a seat (Chimur) from us which they have never won and given to us one (Kalyan) they have never lost.”