Mumbai: As talks between Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and BJP chief Amit Shah reached final stages, some conditions put forth by the Sena appeared as possible hiccups for the BJP.
Among them is the demand for the chief minister's post. The Sena has insisted that irrespective of its performance, Maharashtra's chief minister should be from party.
It has also demanded the Palghar Lok Sabha seat, the bypoll for which was won by the BJP last year. The Sena, whose candidate lost by a thin margin, had reportedly felt betrayed by the victory.
The by-polls were necessitated following the demise of sitting BJP MP Chintaman Wanga. His son Shrinivas had joined the Sena, claiming the BJP had ignored and insulted the Wanga family.
The BJP gave the bypoll ticket to Rajendra Gavit, who emerged winner.
If a deal is agreed upon, Shah, accompanied by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, will visit Matoshree (Thackeray’s residence) on Monday evening. "It is not confirmed yet," a BJP source told CNN-News18.
"Shah and Fadnavis will come to Matoshree today (Monday) evening. The alliance announcement may take place. But talks are still on. They have agreed on a rotational term for the chief minister, but we want a full-term for our CM. They will have to agree to that. They have agreed to all other terms, including giving Palghar to us," a Sena leader told CNN-News18.
After a crucial party meeting last month, the Shiv Sena had announced that it will play the “big brother” in the alliance in Maharashtra.
During talks with the saffron party, it has put forth its interest to settle with the pre-1995 seat-sharing understanding.
The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance had formed the Maharashtra government in 1995. The Sena had fielded 169 candidates of whom 73 were victorious, while the BJP had contested from 116 seats with wins in 65 of them. The Maharashtra assembly has 288 seats.
While the BJP is keen to cut a deal with the Sena for the Lok Sabha elections, Sena is keen to ensure an alliance for the state elections, as well.
The saffron party would have preferred to stay non-committal about assembly seat-sharing for now.
Keeping this in mind, the Sena has put forth the condition of returning to pre-1995 seat sharing understanding as the situation today has changed drastically since 1995.
In the 2014 state elections, while the BJP grabbed 122 seats, Sena won from 63 constituencies.
After playing hardball, the Sena is said have agreed to a 50-50 seat-sharing formula along with the chief minister’s chair, a condition which was considered impossible by the BJP till a fortnight ago.
“If Narendra Modi will be the Prime Minister, then it will be Sena's chief minister in Maharashtra," a senior Shiv Sena leader had said a few days ago.