New Delhi/Mumbai: Amid hardening of stands by BJP and Shiv Sena over seat-sharing in Maharashtra putting the alliance between the two parties on the rocks, the BJP top brass will hold crucial talks to evolve its strategy for the October 15 Assembly elections.
BJP President Amit Shah will be in Mumbai late tonight and the party leadership in the state will decide on whether to go it alone or climb down on its demand for seats as the Shiv Sena has refused to budge.
Top BJP leaders including Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, party's general secretary incharge of Maharashtra Rajiv Pratap Rudy and its election incharge in the state Om Mathur, besides state party chief Devendra Fadnavis and Leader of Opposition in state Legislative Council Vinod Tawde will meet Shah tonight to hold brainstorming talks on the party's future strategy in the state.
There has been a deadlock over seat-sharing between the two parties for the 288-member state Assembly elections slated next month, the notification for which will be issued on September 20 starting the election process in the state.
BJP has told Shiv Sena its intention to contest 135 seats and wants its ally also to contest an equal number of seats, leaving the remaining 18 seats for the three allies of the 'Mahayuti' (grand alliance) - RPI (A), Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha. This demand has been rejected by Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Sources say the tie-up between Sena and BJP is "on the blink" and the question on "who will blink first" is being speculated. However, talks between BJP leaders and Shiv Sena are continuing and optimists in both parties are hopeful of "ironing out" the differences.
The BJP Central Election Committee (CEC) is likely to meet on Saturday and Sunday to decide on its party candidates and it is hoped that the issue will be sorted out in a day or two, sources say.