New Delhi: A day after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray expressed his desire to become the Chief Minister of Maharashtra for the first time, ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday, talking tough over the issue, said that the matter will be discussed after the polls are over.
Addressing a press conference here, BJP leader in charge of Maharashtra affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, “The two alliance partners had not discussed the issue of chief ministership so far. This issue will be decided after the elections," PTI reported.
Ruddy further said the BJP 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", he added.
The BJP leader further said, “Decision of seat-sharing with small but strong regional parties in Maharashtra taken, will be announced in 2-3 days.”
When asked about details regarding the seat-sharing with small parties, Ruddy said, “BJP President Amit Shah met Shiv Sena Chief, have presented our proposal, waiting for their response,” ANI reported.
“Proposal is, after sharing seats with regional parties, left seats will be equally shared by BJP-Shiv Sena,” he added.
However, relying to a query, Rudy said it would be wrong to question the "maturity" of Uddhav Thackeray in reference to ongoing talks on seat sharing, adding that he had handled his party affairs well after the demise of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.
“Have strong alliance with Shiv Sena, truly believe that our policy will stand together for the development of the state,” he said.
Ruddy added, “No conflict between BJP-Shiv Sena, exchange of seats will only be discussed after number of seats shared is decided.”
The BJP also disapproved Thackeray's statement that in the event of a saffron victory, the top post would go to Shiv Sena and that he was not averse to assuming it.
Asked about dissensions within the 25-year-old saffron alliance in Maharashtra over the issue of seat-sharing for the October 15 polls, Rudy said BJP expected "a mature and respectable understanding" from the Sena.
The BJP, he said, 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 said. In the 288-member house, Shiv Sena and BJP had contested 169 and 119 seats respectively in the last 2009 assembly elections.
Asked if BJP would go it alone and fight all 288 seats if the proposal failed to click with Shiv Sena, Rudy said, "Why to speculate? There is no plan A or B. We are awaiting their response."
He noted that the BJP chief Amit Shah had recently met Thackeray at 'Matoshree' and both the parties had decided to keep the alliance intact and fight the polls together.
In reply to a question, he said, "Things have changed. There is no big or small brother in the alliance. We are partners."
Tension within the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance over seat sharing for upcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls became perceptible with BJP today disapproving Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's statement that in the event of a saffron victory, the top post would go to Shiv Sena and that he was not averse to assuming it.
Expressing party's displeasure over the statement made by Thackeray on a TV channel and prominently published in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamna', Rudy said, "It is desirable to refrain from making such statements prior to elections and talks."
Earlier, 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. The 2014 Lok Sabha election saw BJP win 23 seats against Shiv Sena's 18.
Shiv Sena had through its editorial 'Saamna' warned BJP of demanding a greater seat share ahead of elections. Citing a recent court verdict, Sena had said, "excessive lust leads to divorce" and asked the constituents of 'Mahayuti' to exercise restraint while demanding extra share during seat allocation talks.
With Agency inputs