Uddhav, Fadnavis share stage in Mumbai, send a message poll pact in the works
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena boss Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday shared a stage and made a joint promise at an event to underscore that the alliance was on track for the state elections scheduled for next month. Maharashtra votes on 21 October; the results will be declared on October 24.
Thackeray, who leads the Shiv Sena that has been hurling darts at its partner, said the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance was in place and would come to power.
“There is no doubt about it. We will ensure that the Mathadis get their rights. We will also ensure that Narendra Patil, who lost the recent Lok Sabha election, becomes a member of parliament. A mathadi (headloader) will become an MP,” Thackeray said at the event to commemorate the birth anniversary of the much-revered mathadi leader Annasaheb Patil.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also promised his party and government’s continued support to the mathadi community. “With your blessing our government will come back to power. On behalf of Uddhav Thackeray and myself, I assure all, that our Maha Yuti (Grand Alliance) will keep the promises made to the workers in the next government as well,” Fadnavis said.
The two alliance partners haven’t sealed their poll pact yet, reportedly over the number of seats that both of them should contest in next month’s elections to the 288-seat state assembly. The two partners have kept aside 18 seats for the smaller parties but are yet to finalise the formula for the remaining 270.
Sena leaders point to a February pact ahead of national elections between the two partners when they had agreed to a 50-50 formula for assembly seats. But the BJP - encouraged by party’s one-sided sweep in the Lok Sabha polls - wants the formula to be dictated by the past performance of the two parties and their candidates to reduce its dependence on the Sena. Besides, there are reports that the two parties also need to narrow differences over swapping of certain seats and tickets for some leaders from opposition leaders who want to switch over to the ruling alliance.
It is in the backdrop of these hiccups that Sanjay Raut, the Sena MP and editor of party mouthpiece Saamana, has been firing away at the BJP on a daily basis. Just yesterday, he took another potshot at the BJP when he advised its partner to introspect. “This is Shivarai’s (Maratha king Shivaji) Maharashtra and here keeping one’s word is important. This division of 288 seats is a more complex exercise than Partition of the country. If we had remained in the Opposition, we would have been in a better position during the talks,” said Raut.
Saamana, the mouthpiece that Raut edits, fired again on Wednesday, wondering if the BJP would have returned with the overwhelming majority in the national elections if the Pulwama terror attack hadn’t taken place.