Days after the Shiv Sena announced their decision to ride solo in the 2019 Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly Elections, their current ally the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is attempting to convince the party to stay in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The BJP is ready to offer the Shiv Sena 144 of the total 288 Maharashtra Assembly seats to convince them to contest the elections together, sources told The Quint.
Both the parties contested the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections together but just before the Maharashtra Elections, the 25-year-old alliance of BJP and Shiv Sena had split. The allies won 41 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra out of which BJP got 23 and Shiv Sena won 18.
When contacted, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told The Quint that he had no information about the offer made by the BJP and said his party is adamant on fighting the 2019 general elections alone.
Shiv Sena’s announcement of breaking-up with the NDA has put the BJP under a lot of pressure. Plus, the reports of the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party joining hands for 2019 in Maharashtra, only adds salt to the wound for the BJP.
Announcing the split, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had blamed the BJP for diverting people’s attention from real issues during the Gujarat elections and using Pakistan as a backdrop for election campaigning. He had also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Ahmedabad, and the Kashmir issue.
The BJP had however played it cool after Shiv Sena's announcement and said the decision to contest alone in the Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections will backfire on the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
It will be their loss. We were keen on the alliance. But if the Shiv Sena isn’t keen, then the BJP is ready (to go at it alone) and Maharashtra is also ready.
Ashish Shelar, Mumbai BJP chief, as quoted by PTI
(This article was originally published on Quint Hindi)