BJP keen on alliance with Shiv Sena, but time running out: Rudy

Amid reports that BJP and its oldest ally Shiv Sena are likely to part ways ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly elections, BJP Maharashtra in charge Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Thursday evening said that "we are still eager to keep the alliance intact."

Mumbai: Amid reports that BJP and its oldest ally Shiv Sena are likely to part ways ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly elections, BJP Maharashtra in charge Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Thursday evening said that "we are still eager to keep the alliance intact."

Talking to reporters on rift with Sena over the seat-sharing issue, Rudy said that only time constraint is giving rise to speculations of both parties ending the 25-year-old alliance in the state.

Only 48 hours are left to file nominations for the upcoming Assembly elections in Maharashtra. "There is no instruction from Central leadership," the BJP leader told.

The last-ditch efforts to salvage the alliance appeared set to come a cropper after state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis and Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Vinod Tawde left the meeting midway, terming Sena's proposals as "unaccomodative" of the allies.

"We have received several proposals from Shiv Sena, but all these show they are not accommodative of either BJP or other allies," Fadnavis told reporters emerging from the meeting at BJP's Maharashtra election observer O P Mathur's residence.

He said the matter will now be discussed by the state BJP's Core Committee.

A few minutes after Fadvanis and Tawde had left, senior Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote, who along with Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai was sent by party chief Uddhav Thackeray for the negotiations, said "BJP is in a hurry to end the relationship".

"We had come to discuss the final proposal sent by Uddhav Thackeray. There were differences on only a few seats but they left the meeting without even caring to inform us," Raote said.

One of the proposals, according to reports, was that Shiv Sena and BJP will contest 151 and 127 seats respectively leaving 10 of the state's 288 Assembly seats for smaller allies. Additionally, it was said that three candidates of smaller partners of 6-party 'Mahayuti' will contest on Sena tickets and, similarly, BJP would accommodate one nominee in its quota of seats.

An angry Raote said,"We came to know through media about BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy speaking of ending the alliance."

"If this is their stance, then we will also give a befitting reply through Uddhavji," he said.

(With PTI inputs)

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