India: Maharashtra: Sena seeks 1995 model to continue pact with BJP

  • The BJP and the Shiv Sena have broken the ice at the highest levels with the former conveying to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray that it was willing to start talks on firming up an alliance for the Lok Sabha polls, sources privy to the development said.
  • ET has learnt that the phone call took place a couple of days ago. While the Sena is reading this as a positive sign, it is clear that any alliance will have to be done by reopening the larger contours of seat and power sharing formula between the two.
  • Sena demonstrated that it won’t play easy-to-get, when senior party leader Sanjay Raut on 11 Feb 19 paid a ‘solidarity’ visit to Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu who was on an anti-Centre stir in Delhi, which was converted into a major opposition ‘unity show’.
  • Sources said, the Sena leadership has conveyed to the BJP that the revival of ‘1995 model’ would have to be the basis for “earnest negotiations” between the two. Sources added the Sena leadership’s pitch for the ‘1995 model’ also meant a whole package of demands: Sena wants assembly elections in Maharashtra, by trimming the tenure of the Devendra Fadnavis regime, simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls.
  • Secondly, BJP should accept its claim for the chief minister’s post, should the saffron alliance form the next government.
  • Accordingly, Sena is pitching for around 150 of the total 288 assembly seats and 25-26 of the total 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.
  • Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut said: “Without an alliance, the BJP leaders know, they will not win more than 10 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.”
  • On 9 Feb 19, chief minister Fadnavis and BJP state chief Raosaheb Danve had claimed BJP will win 43 LS seats on its own.

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