Alliance with Shiv Sena all but over, BJP tries wooing other parties
With no sign of reconciliation in sight, the party is ready to share 40 seats with junior parties in the upcoming assembly polls; efforts are on to convince Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and Shiv Sangram
Alliance politics seems to be on the wane in the state, with two major alliances all but broken up. With the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, which has seen a public spat in the last few days over the number of seats to be contested in the assembly polls, nearly finished, the BJP is now showering attention upon the smaller parties in the Mahayuti alliance.
BJP state unit chief Devendra Fadnavis denied party boss Amit Shah had spoken to Uddhav Thackeray or state in-charge for assembly elections, OP Mathur, was going to meet the Sena chief
According to sources, the party has taken a lead and is making efforts to forge an alliance with Raju Shetty-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), Ramdas Athawale-led Republican Party of India (Athawale) and Shiv Sangram. The party is ready to share 40 seats with the junior alliance members.
BJP is trying to convince Raju Shetty’s Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Ramdas Athawale-led Republican Party of India and Shiv Sangram to join their alliance and take 40 seats altogether. File Pics
However, the fourth partner in the grand alliance, Rashtriya Samaj Party (RSP), is planning to contest as a separate entity in 125 seats, but BJP leaders are trying to convince its chief, Mahadeo Jankar, to stay within the fold so that elections can be fought as Mahayuti, said a leader from the grand alliance.
mid-day’s report yesterday on Uddhav Thackeray’s offensive against the BJP
“BJP, being the senior partner, may contest around 245 seats, as there are no hopes left for the alliance with the Shiv Sena,” the leader said. Though speculations were rife that senior BJP leader Om Prakash Mathur, in charge for the state assembly polls, may meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, no such meeting was scheduled till late in the evening.
“I am not aware of any such official meeting between the two leaders,” said BJP’s state unit chief, Devendra Fadnavis, signifying the extent to which the 25-year-old political marriage has soured. mid-day had reported on how Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had taken a strong but emotional stand, reminding the BJP that the Sena had supported them in times of need.
We are still hopeful for a solution in the present deadlock over the seat sharing, Fadnavis told this newspaper. He also denied any conversation occurred between BJP president Amit Shah and Thackeray. “We are still trying to convince our alliance partner that the 59 seats where Shiv Sena has never won should be exchanged with us. In 35 of these seats, Sena candidates have lost their deposits,” he claimed.
Fadnavis denied the tiff with the Sena was over the CM’s post, saying the people would decide who will be CM. However, he took an affront to the ‘Mission 150’ campaign launched by Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, in line with Sena’s demand for 151 seats. “We, too, can have Mission 135,” Fadnavis replied, reiterating the BJP’s 135:135 seat ratio.
NCP ministers jump ship to BJP
After ex NCP minister Babanrao Pachpute, minister of state for social justice Sanjay Sawkare followed suit and joined the BJP on Monday. This is yet another jolt for the party, as Sawkare is from Jalgaon district and represents the Bhusawal assembly seat. A few days ago, senior NCP leaders Suryakanta Patil and Madhavrao Kinhalkar joined the party. A few more prominent faces may cross over within next two to three days, say sources.
In the other relationship gone bad, last-ditch efforts were on to save the 15-year-old alliance between Congress and NCP. A meeting is expected to take place between Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and senior NCP leaders on Tuesday. But, sources from the Congress say it was already over.
At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi downplayed speculation about a break-up saying, “We are hopeful and we want the alliance to continue and high level-talks are on.” NCP leader Praful Patel tweeted “positive decision is expected in tomorrow’s meet with the leaders of #Congress”.
Total number of seats the BJP (47) and the Shiv Sena (44) has in the current state legislature