MUMBAI: After weeks of speculation, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena on Monday formally announced alliance for the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly election, scheduled to be held on October 21. Friendly parties including Republican Party of India (RPI), Rayalaseema Parirakshana Samithi (RPS), Shiv Sangram and Rayat Kranti Sanghatana are also part of the alliance.
A press release issued by senior state BJP minister Chandrakant Patil and Shiv Sena's senior leader Subhash Desai confirmed the alliance between the two grand parties. However, no announcement has been made on the seat-sharing pact between the alliance parties yet.
According to sources, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will announce the quantum of seat sharing through a joint statement later on Monday.
Earlier on Sunday, the Shiv Sena had given out AB forms to its incumbent MLAs, authorizing them to file their nominations as Shiv Sena candidates for 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections, even before the alliance was formally announced by the two parties.
Further, the Shiv Sena announced that it has decided to field the 29-year old grandson of Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray, Aditya Thackeray from the prestigious Worli seat in south-central Mumbai. It is also likely that Aditya Thackeray will be given the post of Deputy Chief Minister if BJP-Shiv Sena alliance returns to power.
Earlier on Saturday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said that his party will contest the upcoming election in alliance with the BJP. Sources told Zee Media that the Sena chief is willing to accept the deal put forward by the BJP.
Earlier, the sources had said that the BJP is unwilling to give more than 120 seats to Shiv Sena in 288-member Maharashtra Assembly. Interestingly, Sena has repeatedly maintained that it will not settle down for less than 126 seats and the position of deputy chief minister. But Uddhav's statement on Saturday sent a clear message that Sena has decided to climb down from its earlier stand and it will accept the formula put on the table by the BJP.
The Election Commission has announced single-phase voting for Maharashtra Assembly elections on October 21 and the counting of votes is scheduled on October 24.