The tussle between the Shiv Sena and its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over seat-sharing and alliance has increased ahead of the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly election 2019. According to sources, the Shiv Sena has reiterated its condition of the '50-50 formula' for a pre-poll alliance with the BJP.
The Shiv Sena has also decided not to contest on less than 135 seats. However, the BJP has come up with a new formula by offering 124 seats to the Shiv Sena. But there is no talk about finalising the alliance for Maharashtra Assembly election 2019 yet.
On the other hand, Uddhav Thackeray has added to the confusion about the alliance by asking his party leaders to prepare to fight the election alone. Shiv Sena has also started the process of selection of interested candidates in all the seats including Nagpur. In all the seats, the party has started the interview of its interested candidates.
The political mercury has already started rising as the state election will be held on October 2019 for the 288 seats. The opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have announced an alliance to contest 125 seats each in the Maharashtra Assembly election. They are also willing to distribute the remaining seats to other smaller allies.
Speaking on the matter, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, "We will have an alliance between us and we are positive about it. But as a political party, the party should not be under an illusion and this is Uddhav Thackeray's instruction too. The discussions are going on the seat-sharing formula."
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said, "We will count later how many candidates have been interviewed. But those willing to contest the election on every seat are coming forward and as a political party, we are completing this process. It is our mission to take forward the ideology of the party."
Shiv Sena has changed its approach and attitude in recent times and is putting pressure on the BJP with the aim of securing what it believes are its share of seats. Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray has also raked up the issue of Ram temple saying that it will be constructed in Ayodhya as soon as possible.
The Shiv Sena has already pressured the BJP by announcing that the new Motor Vehicle Act will not be implemented in Maharashtra. It is also creating pressure on the BJP on other regional issues. Although the BJP is not opening its cards on the seat formula, the party is sure of Shiv Sena's support.
Maharashtra Minister of Finance & Planning and Forests Sudhir Mungantiwar asserted that everything is well between the two allies. "Our friendship will continue like this," he added.
The BJP currently has 122 MLAs in Maharashtra, while several MLAs from the Congress and NCP have joined it recently. This is why the BJP wants to contest the maximum possible number of Assembly seats in the state. The BJP also has the support of smaller parties in the state and so it is not in the mood to give more seats to the Shiv Sena.
In 2014, after the seat-sharing dispute, the Shiv Sena broke the alliance with the BJP.