BJP, Shiv Sena tie up for Maharashtra assembly polls

Mumbai, Aug 31 ( The rumblings at the top level of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) notwithstanding, the state unit of the party has quietly worked out an understanding to fight the ensuing Maharashtra assembly elections in alliance with the Shiv Sena.

“Our talks are almost over and we should make the official announcement in a day or so, largely on the existing 171:117 formula for the 288 assembly seats,” an officer-bearer of the party told Inditop here.

This time, however, the BJP expects to get two more seats in its kitty — and the Shiv Sena has reportedly agreed.

In the 2004 assembly elections, the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance had allotted seven seats to Sharad Joshi’s Shetkari Sanghatana. While the Shiv Sena conceded four seats from its share, the BJP parted with three seats.

During the last election, a sitting Congress legislator had joined the Shiv Sena and contested and lost the elections on the BJP-allotted seat of Chandwad.

The BJP has now demanded that Chandwad should be again given for its party candidate.

It has also demanded that one of the three seats it had conceded to the Shetkari Sanghatana should also come back to BJP, which will raise its tally to 119.

The office-bearer said a consensus has been reached on these issues and the finishing touches are being given to wrap up the alliance.

The saffron alliance is upbeat that it has managed to work out the alliance despite many pressures at the local and central levels, and even before the poll schedules have been announced.

“This will ensure commitment to each other on the part of both the parties and give a much-needed headway in the campaigning process, especially at the grassroots levels,” he explained.

The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance comes even as the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) dither over their plans to contest the elections jointly.

It is not yet known what strategy Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) would adopt – go alone, ally with one of the two major political groups, or opt for the Third Front.