New Delhi: Setting itself on a confrontation path with its oldest ally, BJP on Thursday gave Shiv Sena an ultimatum to agree on a seat-sharing formula for the coming Assembly elections or face a break down of the alliance.
Having jacked up its demand for contesting 135 of the 288 seats, which has been rejected by Shiv Sena, senior BJP leaders have communicated to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to decide by this evening whether his party was willing to conform to a "mutual and respectable" seat-sharing formula.
The BJP's ultimatum comes against the backdrop of party President Amit Shah's tough talk this morning in Kolhapur in Maharashtra that there will be no compromise at the cost of self-respect.
Top BJP sources said that the party was upset that Shiv Sena, an ally of 25 years, has not given any response to the proposal sent by it on the higher number of seats it wanted to contest in the coming elections.
In the 2009 elections, the BJP had contested 119 and the Sena 169 seats. However, this time the alliance "Mahayuti" has been broad based with the inclusion of four more parties --RPI (Athawle), Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, Swabhimani Shetkari Paksha and Loksangram.
The BJP sources said the party was awaiting a reply
from Thackeray and decided to make clear its position because time was running out.
The party was particularly peeved that Thackeray has not responded to or was not in communication with the BJP leadership ever since the demand for 135 seats was put forth to him.
In fact, without responding to BJP' demand directly, he went public earlier this week on rejecting it.
They also said that they were keen on an alliance but the party cannot wait endlessly. A decision has to be taken as a strategy has to be worked out on the basis of the seat sharing formula of the alliance, they said.
Today's ultimatum has come after a major brainstorming session of the BJP core group in Mumbai last night which was attended by leaders including Amit Shah, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, General Secretary in charge of Maharashtra and Om Mathur, BJP's state election in charge, and state leaders.
The core group meeting is also understood to have discussed a 'Plan B' in case the BJP has to go it alone.