Mumbai: The ongoing tussle between Shiv Sena and the BJP over seat-sharing seems to have ended with the latter deciding to contest on 119 instead of 135 seats in the upcoming assembly polls in Maharashtra, reports said on Thursday.
A decision in this regard was taken after Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari met the Maharashtra BJP leaders in Mumbai on Wednesday night. During the meeting, Gadkari and the party's state unit leaders agreed to contest polls on 119 seats and also made the recommendations to the BJP top brass. The BJP central leadership is likely to make a formal announcement in this regard today.
State BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis, Eknath Khadse, Vinod Tawde and senior leader Sudhir Mungantiwar were also present during the meeting.
The BJP's change of heart comes just days after its dismal performance in the recently held bypolls in nine states. As per the reports, the deciion taken by the BJP leaders has been duly communicated to the Shiv Sena.
The state BJP leaders had earlier met BJP national president Amit Shah at an event in Mumbai. The 25-year-old alliance had come under strain after a deadlock over seat-sharing between the two parties for sharing the 288 state assembly seats for fighting the elections slated next month.
The Shiv Sena had on Monday rejected the 135-seat sharing compromise formula offered by the BJP for Maharashtra Assembly elections. The Sena has been firm that it will contest on at least 150 seats in the 288-member Assembly.
On Sunday, BJP leader in-charge of Maharashtra affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy had said that the party had proposed that after allotting respective share of seats to smaller alliance partners, including RPI (Athavale) and Swabhiman Party led by Raju Shetty, the remaining seats should be divided equally between BJP and Shiv Sena. "Based on this, we expect to contest about 135 seats, leaving the same number to Shiv Sena", Rudy had said.
So far, BJP has been a junior player in the Shiv Sena -BJP alliance in the state. Shiv Sena has always got a bigger chunk of seats in the Assembly elections, while the BJP contests more seats in Lok Sabha polls. In the 2009 Assembly polls, Shiv Sena had contested 169 seats and won 44, while BJP bagged 46 despite putting up candidates in only 119 seats.
Shiv Sena chief also expresed his desire to become the next Maharashtra Chief Minister if his party and the alliance wins in the polls. "I want the people to give me a chance and they will not be given a chance to complain," he had said on Saturday during an interaction organised by a private news channel.