Mumbai: Three weeks before the Maharashtra assembly elections, the 25-year-old BJP-Shiv Sena alliance collapsed Thursday, with the BJP deciding to fight the polls with smaller allies.
BJP state president Devendra Fadnavis
State BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis announced that the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena had "decided to go our independent ways" following the failure of seat sharing talks.
The break-up came after days of bickering over which party will contest how many seats and who will be the chief ministerial candidate.
"We tried out level best till the very last to save the alliance," a grim looking Fadnavis told the media.
"However, there was no suitable proposal from the Shiv Sena on the issue of seat-sharing which could honourably accommodate all the partners.
"Hence we have decided to go our independent ways," he said.
Though there was no immediate response from the Shiv Sena, the party is expected for now to continue in the BJP-led central government of Narendra Modi.
Senior BJP and Shiv Sena leaders had indicated to IANS Sep 19 that the alliance was virtually over.
"It's on the verge of breaking. Only a formal announcement is awaited," a senior BJP leader had said.
Similarly, a Shiv Sena functionary hinted to IANS that the alliance "is over" but the party had decided to wait for further developments before declaring its stand.
The leader of the opposition in the Maharashtra assembly, BJP's Eknath Khadse, said the Shiv Sena's discussions centred more on the post of chief minister.
"Our united efforts were to rid Maharashtra of the Congress-NCP combine at any cost. Other things would follow," Khadse said, reiterating the party's stand.
The Shiv Sena and the BJP were part of a six-party "Grand Alliance" that included four smaller parties. The alliance was widely expected to seize power in the upcoming assembly elections.