After days of suspense and discussions, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena on Monday announced their alliance for the Maharashtra Assembly polls. Fearing rebellion, both parties have not yet disclosed the seat-sharing arrangement, which the leaders claim has been mutually accepted.
The announcement, however, did not come from top leaders of both parties as expected. Instead, state BJP president Chandrakant Patil and senior Sena leader Subhash Desai issued a joint signed statement.
The alliance also includes union minister Ramdas Athawle’s Republican Party of India (Athawale group), Rashtriya Samaj Party of Dhangar leader Mahadev Jankar, state minister Sadabhau Khot’s Rayatkranti and Shivsangram party of Maratha leader Vinayak Mete. However, the statement does not have signatures of the other four leaders or their representatives.
“Under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis and the guidance of Uddhav Thackeray, the government of grand alliance took the state to a new height in the last five years and now as per the democratic traditions we will be facing the polls. Following the discussions between Uddhav Thackeray and Devendra Fadnavis and also with other allies such as Ramdas Athawale, Vinayak Mete, Sadabhau Khot, Mahadev Jankar, the decision to contest upcoming elections in an alliance has been taken unanimously. As per that we are announcing the grand alliance,” reads the statement. The details about which party will contest how many seats will be declared soon, it says.
Earlier, BJP state president Chandrakant Patil said, “The seat-sharing arrangement between both parties is complete and both have agreed to it. But the official announcement will be made at the right time.”
In response to a query, Mr. Patil denied that Sena was going to be given the deputy Chief Minister’s post. “Nothing of this sort has been decided. Let the elections take place. After that results will be out,” he said. Commenting on Sena leaders’ statement wishing Aaditya Thackeray as the next Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr Patil said that it is obvious for the leaders of the Sena to wish their leader state’s topmost post.
Meanwhile, the delay in announcing seat-sharing between two parties indicates that both fear large-scale rebellion within. “It is natural that those who are sitting MLAs or prepared for five years feel agitated in case the seat goes to another party. It is natural. But we will talk to them and reinstate them for sure in future,” he said.