Mumbai: After nearly five years of bitter fighting, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena have finally decided to bury the hatchet and join hands for the upcoming Lok Sabha (LS) and Vidhan Sabha (VS) elections.
As per the seat-sharing formula finalised by the two parties, the BJP and Sena will fight 25 and 23 seats respectively in the LS polls, while both parties have agreed to contest an equal number seats that remain after sharing seats with their allies.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the alliance formally in the presence of BJP chief Amit Shah and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at a seaside hotel in Worli on Monday evening.
While announcing that both parties would contest an equal number of seats in the VS polls, Mr Fadnavis also said that posts and responsibilities would also be shared equally between them after the polls.
The statement assumes significance as even after joining the BJP-led government in Maharashtra, the Sena had been sulking about not being given important portfolios in the state government.
“For the Vidhan Sabha polls, the quota of allied parties will be finalised after holding discussions with them. Both the parties will not only contest the remaining seats equally, but the posts and responsibilities will also be shared equally,” said the chief minister.
Defending the decision to join hands with the BJP, Mr Thackeray said that if inconsiderate people in the Opposition could come together, then there was no harm in like-minded parties coming together.
“Despite having the same ideology and policies, we kept fighting with each other due to misunderstandings. But we decided to join hands with the mindset that power should not go into the hands of those whom we have been opposing for 50 years,” he said.
Mr Shah said that the Sena is one of BJP’s oldest friends and the allies would win 45 out of 48 LS seats in Maharashtra.
The alliance renewal announcement comes after several hard-hitting editorials in Sena mouthpiece Saamana blasting the BJP in general and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular.
At a public rally last year, Mr Thackeray had declared that his party won’t have a tie-up with the BJP. The party now appears to have given in to the ‘persuasive skills’ of Amit Shah and Mrm Fadnavis.
“We rotted for 25 years in the alliance with the BJP,” Uddhav Thackeray had said last year, ruling out any pact with that party.
Announcing the seat-sharing, both the parties stressed that Hindutva was the common thread between them....