Mumbai, February 18: The Shiv Sena and the BJP almost finalised an electoral deal for the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra and an announcement regarding this is expected Monday evening. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and his BJP counterpart Amit Shah will address a joint press conference this evening for which the latter has arrived in Mumbai. The two parties have reportedly reached an agreement on seat-sharing.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut confirmed that his party, which has been at loggerheads with BJP and had even decided to go it alone in the upcoming general elections, has reached an agreement with BJP to have a pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra. “The discussions between the two leaders have concluded and an agreement for a pre-poll alliance has been taken," Raut told news agency ANI. Shiv Sena Demands Maharashtra CM's Post to Continue Alliance With NDA.
Shiv Sena, which is part of the BJP-led governments at the Centre as well as in the state, has had constant bickerings with BJP lately. It has targeted the Narendra Modi government over the Rafale deal, the Ram temple issue, farm crisis and fuel prices, among others. Sources from both the parties, however, refused to disclose the seat-sharing formula for the general elections. BJP-Ally Shiv Sena Slams Narendra Modi for ‘Power Like Oxygen’ Remarks.
During the party’s national executive meet in January last year, Shiv Sena had resolved to fight the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections on its own. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP and Shiv Sena contested as alliance partners and won 41 seats out of a total of 48 at stake in Maharashtra. BJP had won 22 seats, while Shiv Sena 19. However, they contested the subsequent Assembly polls separately.
Shiv Sena has been firm that the alliance for the Lok Sabha polls could be firmed up only if BJP was ready to announce the seat-sharing formula for both the general and Assembly polls in Maharashtra. (With agency inputs)