Mumbai: In what spells a political storm for Maharashtra ahead of the assembly elections, the quarter-of-a-century-old Shiv Sena-BJP alliance came to an end on Thursday. An official announcement to this effect was made by senior BJP leaders Eknath Khadse and Devendra Fadnavis (state BJP president).
The duo held the Sena’s adamant attitude responsible for the harsh decision of severing the oldest political ties in the state. The BJP also claimed that the remaining four allies would remain with the party for the assembly elections and distribution of seats would be finalized very soon. Present on behalf of the four partners was Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP) chief Mahadev Jankar.
“We tried our level best to maintain our alliance with the Sena but there was no flexibility from their side,” claimed Mr Khadse. He said that during the entire deliberations held between them, the Sena had remained resolute on 151 seats along with staking claim on the chief ministerial post in the event of a victory in the assembly polls.
For the past 20 to 22 days, the Sena, BJP and their allies had held a number of discussions to zero in upon a seat sharing formula acceptable to all parties.
“In all the formulae offered by Sena, the number of seats remained unchanged. The only change they offered was either a reduction in BJP’s seats or the seats of the remaining allies,” said Mr Fadnavis.
BJP has decided not to criticize the Sena during the election campaign as their target will be the ruling Congress-NCP Democratic Front (DF) government. “We have been friends for more than two decades and will continue to treat each other as friends. We don’t want to spoil our relations though we have parted ways,” Mr Fadnavis clarified.
Mr Fadnavis was quick to point out that the party’s alliance with the Sena in the Mumbai and Thane municipal corporations would remain intact. Speaking about the alliance with BJP, Mr Jankar said that he had joined the “Mahayuti” by holding late Gopinath Munde’s hand and would not leave the party in his absence.“There was no time to continue discussions on seat sharing and thus, with a heavy heart, we decided to scrap our alliance with the Shiv Sena,” Mr Khadse declared at the party head office. The decision was taken after the core committee meeting of the party at Mr Khadse’s official residence.
Effectively, the new “Mahayuti” headed by the BJP comprises the RSP, Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana (SSS), Republican Party of India (RPI) and Vinayak Mete’s Shiv Sangram, informed a senior BJP leader.