Even as the dates for Assembly elections in Maharashtra have been announced, there is no clarity over a pre-poll alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena. According to sources, a late-night meeting between leaders of both the parties on Monday remained inconclusive.
The sources said that differences remained between the two parties over 10 seats. A joint press conference, which was scheduled to be held on Tuesday, has been deferred till further information.
However, attempts are still on from both sides to strike an alliance at the earliest.
Earlier reports had suggested that Shiv Sena had agreed to contest on 120-125 seats. This was a diversion from Shiv Sena’s initial stand on going for a 50:50 formula. In a bid to pressure the BJP, the NDA constituent had reportedly started interviewing candidates for all 288 constituencies, including Nagpur, which is the seat of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Currently, the BJP and the Shiv Sena have 122 and 63 seats, respectively, in Maharashtra Assembly.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had last week dismissed reports of rift between the two parties, saying they would finalise the seat-sharing agreement for the upcoming Assembly elections "very soon".
The two parties had fought the last Assembly polls in 2014 separately even though they were partners in the Central government. The two parties had earlier this year contested the Lok Sabha polls as allies and had swept the state securing 41 out of the 48 Lok Sabha seats.
Just like the Lok Sabha polls, the NDA constituents are banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the main vote catcher, while the perceived clean image of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is said to be an additional factor.
Voting in Maharashtra is slated to take place on October 21 while the counting of votes will be held on October 24.