Amit Shah to clinch alliance with Shiv Sena, others: BJP sources

Mumbai: Amidst threats by smaller parties to quit the Grand Alliance in Maharashtra, BJP president Amit Shah is likely to arrive here Thursday and seal the deal with the Shiv Sena, party sources said late Wednesday.

Shah's intervention is expected after toughening of stance by both the parties and the smaller constituents over the issue of seat-sharing for the Oct 15 Maharashtra assembly elections, a top party leader said.

Amit Shah to clinch alliance with Shiv Sena, others
 Amit Shah  

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Despite repeated chants by both sides that the Grand Alliance would remain intact, there has been no agreement on two crucial issues -- the seat-sharing figures and the chief ministerial candidate -- so far, according to the Bharatiya Janata Party leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Exasperated smaller parties Wednesday accused both the BJP and the Shiv Sena of betrayal, back-stabbing, using them as bargaining tools, and threatened to quit the alliance.

However, they were mollified by Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and BJP state president Devendra Fadnavis, who even promised them a larger share of the seats.

The latest talking point is about the Shiv Sena getting 150 seats, BJP 125 and the other parties getting 13 seats in the 288-member assembly.

The smaller partners -- Republican Party of India (A), Swabhiman Shetkari Sanghatana, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Shiv Sangram -- will share the 13 seats, an improvement over Tuesday's proposal to give them eight seats.

Ramdas Athawale, Raju Shetti, Mahadeo Jankar and Vinayak Mete, respectively, of the smaller parties bitterly complained of being "short-changed" in the deal as they were promised minimum 18 seats by the BJP and the Shiv Sena.

Shetti and Jankar went to the extent of "apologising" to the people of the state for committing the mistake of joining the Grand Alliance.

A two-time Lok Sabha member from Hatkanangale, Shetti sarcastically asked the BJP and the Shiv Sena to keep and contest all the 288 seats, but offer the chief ministership to Athawale and Jankar by rotation if the alliance came to power.

The final announcement of the Grand Alliance is now expected Thursday evening after Shah's intervention in the matter.

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