Done Deal: Shiv Sena, BJP set to announce pre-poll alliance for Lok Sabha elections
After months of will-they-won’t-they, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and BJP president Amit Shah are set to announce a pre-poll alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls on Monday.
In the past, Sena has been firm that the alliance for the Lok Sabha polls could be firmed up only if BJP was ready to announce the seat-sharing formula for both the general and Assembly polls in Maharashtra.
“It is finalised. It will be closed around our proposed formula of 25-23 seats for BJP-Sena respectively in Lok Sabha and 50-50 in the Assembly. We shall announce the details formally this evening,” a top Sena leader, requesting anonymity, told news agency IANS.
While the poll alliance seems inevitable, Sena’s demand for the post of Chief Minister remains unresolved. The result, sources say, will depend on the number of seats each partner bags in the 288-member Assembly.
The two parties are expected to address a joint press conference with Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP President Amit Shah later today.
The developments came after weeks of adamant public posturing on both sides, though secondary channel talks were secretly conducted between senior leaders of the two parties, culminating in the reported alliance.
The Sena has been one of the oldest allies of BJP. The two have fought state elections together for almost three decades, barring a brief period before the 2014 Assembly election.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the two parties contested as alliance partners and won 41 seats out of a total of 48 at stake in Maharashtra. BJP had won 22 seats, while Shiv Sena 19.
While they contested the subsequent Assembly polls separately, Sena walked over to the ruling side a few months after BJP formed a government headed by Fadnavis.
Since then, Sena has been one of the staunchest critics of BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, targeting them on various issues ranging from demonetisation to relations with Pakistan.
During the party’s national executive meet in January last year, Shiv Sena had resolved to fight the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections on its own.