Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray has reportedly asked his partymen to remain prepared to contest the upcoming Assembly election without an alliance with the BJP, but he is also unwilling to go solo in Assembly poll and is hopeful that Shiv Sena and BJP would seal the seat-sharing arrangement before the poll. Sources told Zee Media that the Shiv Sena chief met senior leaders of the party at his residence Matoshri on Sunday and held discussions over this matter.
Party insiders told Zee Media that Shiv Sena chief is unhappy with the BJP as the latter has offered just 106 seats to Shiv Sena in forthcoming Assembly poll. Maharashtra has a total of 288 Assembly seats and Shiv Sena wants to contest over 120 seats. The party has asked the BJP to give it at least 120 seats in order to finalise the pre-poll alliance. It is likely that the tension between two parties over seat-sharing is set to increase in the run-up to polls because BJP is in no mood to offer more than 106 seats.
Sources said that earlier Shiv Sena was adamant on contesting 144 seats but the BJP's reluctance to leave so many seats for Sena has forced the party to scale down its demand to 120 seats. Some reports claimed that Shiv Sena has also demanded a revolving chief ministership if the NDA wins the upcoming election.
Few days ago, Uddhav Thackeray shared the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and announced that the alliance of BJP and his party for Assembly election was "inevitable".
Speculations are rife that the BJP is interested in fielding its candidates on at least 160 seats and wants Shiv Sena to compromise on the number of seats in order to accommodate smaller allies of the NDA. Even though BJP and Shiva Sena contested the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election separately, they came together after the results to form a government. In 2014, the BJP emerged as the single-largest party with 122 seats while the Shiv Sena bagged 63. The Congress and NCP won 42 and 41 seats respectively.