Shiv Sena made it clear on Sunday that it won’t make any more concession for BJP, offering to cede it only 119 out of the total 288 seats in Maharashtra Assembly for the next month’s polls, and said this is “the final attempt” to break the logjam over seat sharing.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also reminded Prime Minister Narendra Modi that late Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had backed him in the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots.
“Today I am making a final attempt to ensure that the Mahayuti (grand alliance of opposition parties) stays intact. Sena had initially asked for 160 seats. But now we are ready to part with nine seats. Shiv Sena will fight on 151 seats, leaving 119 seats for BJP. The remaining 18 seats will be given to our allies,” he said.
“I cannot go any further,” said Thackeray, who addressed his party workers this morning after a meeting of the party’s state executive.
“Everyone knows how terrible the situation was when the Godhra riots took place. Everyone was saying that Modi should be immediately removed from the Gujarat CM’s post. At that time, it was only Balasaheb who told L K Advani that Modi should stay on as he pursues the Hindutva ideology,” he said.
Thackeray said that state BJP chief Devendra Fadanvis met him last night and proposed that Sena should contest 140 seats while BJP should get 130 (the rest going to smaller allies of Mahayuti). However, he couldn’t accept this as it would frustrate the aspirations of many Sena candidates, he said.
“I feel from the bottom of my heart that the alliance should stay as this alliance is not for the Chief Minister’s post but for Hindutva. But whatever happens will be my destiny. We are ready to contest all the seats,” the Sena chief said.
Nothing New in Sena offer: BJP
Squabbling over seat-sharing showed no signs of resolution today with the BJP saying there is “nothing new” in Shiv Sena’s final offer to give it 119 seats for upcoming Maharashtra assembly polls and hoped it can be mutually settled.
Hours after Uddhav Thackeray’s tough talk in Mumbai on seat-sharing and that Sena cannot give beyond 119 seats, BJP told its old alliance partner that it was the duty of both the parties to continue the tie-up and sort out issues instead of going through the media, in remarks directed at the Sena Chief.
Reacting cautiously, leaders of opposition in Maharashtra Assembly and Legislative Council Eknath Khadse and Vinod Tawde said that the party wants Sena to re-negotiate on such seats that they never won in the last 25 years, so that they are not given to the NCP-Congress alliance on a platter in the upcoming polls.
“We have 25 year-old ties and seat-sharing issue can be sorted out mutually through face to face talks and not through media (TV),” Tawde told reporters in a hurriedly convened press conference.
The 25-year-old alliance between Shiv Sena and BJP is on the rocks over the issue of seat-sharing with BJP seeking more seats and Sena in no mood to concede.