Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis helped ink BJP-Shiv Sena alliance

Updated: Oct 03, 2019, 07:58 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar | Mumbai

While BJP workers and leaders didn't want to ally with the Shiv Sena, the chief minister insisted on the association for the upcoming assembly polls

A senior BJP leader said Devendra Fadnavis persuaded the top leadership to give a few more seats to the Sena instead of not having the alliance. File pic
A senior BJP leader said Devendra Fadnavis persuaded the top leadership to give a few more seats to the Sena instead of not having the alliance. File pic

Despite the stiff opposition in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to have the Shiv Sena on board, it was Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who ensured the formation of the alliance and exchange of seats between the two parties.

According to BJP insiders, many of its ministers and state leaders including some from the Central leadership, were not keen to contest the 2019 assembly polls in an alliance with the Shiv Sena. "BJP was not keen to part with over 116 seats and Sena camp was not willing to any number below 128. With its success in Lok Sabha polls the BJP was confident of retaining power in Maharashtra even without the Sena on board. Hence, most of the BJP camp leaders were insisting on contesting polls without an alliance," a senior BJP functionary told mid-day.

CM insisted on the alliance

The BJP functionary further stated that the state leadership had even convinced Delhi to contest the polls without an alliance. "But the CM insisted on having the Sena on board. It was Fadnavis who persuaded the top leadership to give a few more seats to the Sena instead of not having the alliance. Finally, the Central leadership gave in to the CM's stand and the alliance was announced," the leader added.

The Sena-BJP alliance was formed in the late 1980's on the agenda of Hindutva. The oldest political alliance in Indian political history was called off in the 2014 assembly polls, as both parties differed on the seat-sharing agreement. The BJP had emerged the single largest party with 122 seats, while the Sena won 63 seats.

However, this time, the CM and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray were constantly repeating the uniform statement that both parties will contest the election in an alliance, though second rank leaders in both camps were not optimistic about the same. They thought seat-sharing and exchange of seats would prove a hurdle for both camps.

Fadnavis-Thackeray stood by their statements and inked an alliance at a time when everyone started talking about a split in the saffron parties over the seat-sharing formula. The BJP announced it would contest 164 seats and 124 for the Sena for the October 21 elections to the 288-member Maharashtra assembly.

'CM thought of state'

Senior BJP leader Pravin Darekar admitted that the party rank and file were prepared to fight the election single-handedly. "People will vote for the development agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. So BJP leaders and workers had no doubts about the party winning the elections, no matter who we are fighting against. But the CM held the larger interest of Maharashtra and its citizens' importance in high esteem over the feelings of the party leadership and its workers.

Fadnavis convinced party leaders to seal an alliance with Sena. The CM is confident about the alliance delivering better results for Maharashtra. We are loyal BJP workers and are on same track as the CM," he said.

164
No. of seats the BJP will contest

124
No. of seats the Shiv Sena will contest

122
No. of seats the BJP won in 2014 Assembly polls

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