Mumbai, Sep 15 L
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray Monday rejected the BJP’s demand to contest 135 seats in the Maharashtra assembly polls, aggravating the seat-sharing crisis between the two parties.
Toughening his stance, Thackeray hinted at the possibility of snapping the alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party and contesting the elections solo, saying “there is an alternative to everything”.
“The BJP offered a proposal to contest 135 seats and I have rejected it… There is an alternative to everything… I have made it clear that we cannot go beyond a point,” a grim Thackeray told the media.
However, he added that seat-sharing talks were still on and he would not say anything negative about the 25-year-old alliance until a final decision was reached ahead of the Oct 15 polls.
Thackeray’s assertion came in the wake of his statement two days ago that the next Maharashtra chief minister would be from the Shiv Sena — if the Sena-BJP alliance bagged power.
Over the past one month, talks have been stuck over the number of seats to be contested by the BJP and the Shiv Sena.
In 2009, the Shiv Sena contested 169 seats and the BJP 119 in the 288-member assembly.
This time, buoyed by the Lok Sabha victory, the BJP demanded 144 seats before scaling it down to 135.
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy Sunday said that after allotting 18 seats to smaller allies like the Republican Party of India (A) and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, the BJP-SS should contest 135 seats each.
Thackeray countered by saying that if the BJP feels the party with more elected legislators should get the post of chief minister, it should remember the late Bal Thackeray’s formula by which it was decided the Sena will contest 171 seats and the BJP 117.
“We all want Hindutva forces to remain united… and the going has been good for the Sena-BJP so far. I hope we are on the same side this time also… We must pull down the Congress-NCP government to save the people.”
On the seat-sharing talks likely to be completed in two-three days, Thackeray said he was in touch with BJP state president Devendra Fadnavis and in-charge of the party in Maharashtra O.P. Mathur.
“The BJP had its mission 272 for the Lok Sabha… We have our mission 150 for the assembly. Nobody should take objections to it,” he said, asserting his party’s status as the “senior partner” in the alliance.