BJP confident in Maharashtra but uncertainty remains over Sena tie-up

BJP-Shiv Sena
BJP's Amit Shah with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

While Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed confidence that the BJP will come back to power in the state after the upcoming Assembly polls, the saffron party’s all-weather ally Shiv Sena on Sunday (September 15) reviewed its poll preparedness amid speculations that the BJP might not agree to the seat-sharing formula proposed by it.

The BJP and the Shiv Sena are currently devising a seat-sharing formula after the two parties agreed to fight the polls together during a meeting of the chiefs of the two parties this February.

In 2014 Assembly elections, the BJP had won 122 out of the total 288 seats while Shiv Sena, which contested separately, bagged 63.

While addressing a rally in Pune on Sunday, Fadnavis sounded his victory bells well ahead of elections. “Wherever we go, the yatra is being welcomed by the people and is getting a huge response. Looking at the people’s support, we are sure that we will get an unprecedented victory in the Assembly polls,” he told reporters.

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On the other hand, Shiv Sena has been conducting interviews of ticket aspirants for all the 288 seats, according to a PTI report. It quoted a Sena leader as saying that they have been asked by the party to be ready for any eventuality.

On Sunday, Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena president held a meeting of MPs, MLAs and division heads at his residence, Matoshree, to take stock of the preparations and assessed the list of probable candidates for western Maharashtra and Marathwada, according to a report.

While the air at Matoshree remains tensed, the BJP seems least worried about the elections. The Fadnavis-led party in the state has already taken a lead in conducting interviews for party tickets in the past few weeks. Officially, both the parties have so far maintained that they are going to fight the polls together.

Meanwhile, the opposition NCP, which has been suffering from frequent desertions since the Lok Sabha elections, faced yet another setback on Saturday as its MP Udayanraje Bhosale, a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, defected to the BJP. He had on Friday announced his decision to join the saffron camp and had submitted his resignation to Speaker Om Birla.

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Reacting to the defections, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday called the legislators “cowards” and said “people of Maharashtra will take care of such people in elections. There are some people who have lost their self-respect and switched to BJP. I think people will show them their place in the assembly elections.”

Meanwhile, responding to speculations that Pawar had to face problems because of Bhosale, CM Fadnavis said that it now appears to be a case of “sour grapes”. “When Bhosale was in the party, the NCP projected him and sought votes. Now (that) he has left, he has become bad,” the chief minister said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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