Mumbai: Despite several days of hectic parleys between the two parties, the seat-sharing tussle finally led to the collapse of the twenty-five year-old alliance between Shiv Sena and the BJP which also saw the two sides blaming each other for not showing enough flexibility in saving the alliance.
Addressing a joint press conference with senior state level leaders here, state BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis said, “Talks over seat sharing were going on for the past several days but nothing concrete could be achieved. The Shiv Sena never showed enough flexibility in taking the grand alliance forward despite several compromises made by the BJP.”
“Since the time is running out we have decided to snap ties with our long-term partner and contest the upcoming assembly polls with smaller allies of the 'Mahayuti' to keep the Congress-NCP out of power in Maharashtra,” Fadnavis said.
Speaking on his turn, BJP leader Eknath Khadse said that they made all efforts possible to maintain the alliance but the options that were offered by Shiv Sena were not acceptable to them.
Khadse also said that the two parties were locked in a deadlock over the number of seats adding that the Shiv Sena focussed only on numbers rather than focussing on the state's welfare.
"They were adamant on their proposal. We conveyed it to the Shiv Sena that bringing down the Congress-NCP alliance is the priority but they were more interested in the Chief Minister's post," Khadse said.
Showing no hard feelings towards the Shiv Sena, the BJP leader said, “We will not criticise each other during campaign and remain friends and respect each others sentiment as we have now decided to contest polls seperately.”
Fadnavis further said that the central leadership always wanted the alliance to stay, but justice was not being done to alliance partners. “Decision to part ways with Shiv Sena was taken with a heavy heart,” Fadnavis added.
“We have conveyed our decision to Shiv Sena and the BJP central leadership will also make a formal announcement in this regard soon,” he said.
The announcement on the fate of alliance was made shortly after talks between the two sides to resolve all issues failed with the BJP leaders walking out of a meeting with their Shiv Sena interlocutors and the latter charging the former with being "in a hurry to end the relationship".
With the announcement the 25-year-old alliance, which had swept Maharashtra in the recent Lok Sabha elections winning 41 out of the 48 seats, came to an end. The decision to split the alliance came after BJP president Amit Shah cancelled his Mumbai visit yet again this morning even as a late night meeting between the BJP and Shiv Sena failed to reach any solution.
The Shiv Sena also made a last ditch effort to resolve all issues with the BJP but in vain. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray spoke to BJP chief Amit Shah after he cancelled his Mumbai visit.
The Shiv Sena had demanded 151 seats for itself, leaving 127 for the BJP. Thirteen seats had been offered to the smaller parties. The Sena had proposed this new formula at the talks that were held late on Wednesday night.
The smaller parties in the Mahayuti had issued an ultimatum of Thursday, 11 am to resolve the seat sharing issue. They were unhappy with the proposal of giving only seven seats to the smaller parties.
The Republican Party of India, the Rashtriya Samaj Party and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghathana had rejected the Sena's offer of seven seats to them and had threatened to release their list of candidates. They were demanding 18 seats.
Prior to this, the Sena had proposed contesting polls on 151 seats and offered 130 to the BJP, which was also rejected.