Muscle flexing begins ahead of  alliance talks between Sena & BJP

ST CORRESPONDENT
Monday, 28 January 2019

"There is no proposal from the BJP to form any alliance with the Shiv Sena. Those who wish to forge an alliance with us are talking about it. We are not waiting for any proposal to be offered to us," Sanjay Raut added.

MUMBAI: Amidst speculations that Shiv Sena and BJP will be soon be getting into seat sharing talks for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, posturing and muscle flexing began on Monday. There are now chances of both sides reaching some understanding on seat sharing but on Monday there was tough talk heard.  The Shiv Sena Monday said it would always be the "big brother" in an alliance with the BJP in Maharashtra, adding no such proposal had been received from the latter.

Speaking to reporters here after a meeting chaired by party chief Uddhav Thackeray, the Sena's Rajya Sabha MP and chief whip in Parliament, Sanjay Raut, said the party also wanted the income tax exemption threshold to be raised from the existing Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 8 lakh.

"Shiv Sena is the big brother (in the alliance with BJP and other parties) in Maharashtra and will continue to be so," Raut asserted.

"There is no proposal from the BJP to form any alliance with the Shiv Sena. Those who wish to forge an alliance with us are talking about it. We are not waiting for any proposal to be offered to us," he added.

Till 2014, the BJP and Sena, allies for long, used to have an understanding under which the former would contest a larger share of Lok Sabha seats and the latter would get a greater number of Maharashtra Assembly seats to fight.

In this way, both parties took the role of elder and younger sibling in the general and state polls in their political "brotherhood".

The 2014 Assembly polls, however, ended this "sibling" agreement as the BJP, on the back of a strong Narendra Modi wave and contesting alone, won 122 seats against the Sena's 63 in Maharashtra.

The BJP went on form a government in the state under Devendra Fadnavis and the Sena had to contend being the junior partner.

At the meeting held Monday in Thackeray's Matoshree residence in Bandra here, with party MLAs and MPs in attendance, the Sena also took some other key decisions.

"Uddhav Thackeray has demanded that the income tax (exemption) threshold be raised from existing Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 8 lakh," Raut said.

"The Union government has already decided to offer reservation to economically weaker sections (in the general category) having annual income up to Rs 8 lakh. Then they (people) should also get relief from income tax as well," he added.

During the meeting, Thackeray also discussed the drought situation and farm distress in the state with party legislators, Raut said.

He said the party will speak on the Rafale fighter jet purchase issue during the upcoming Parliamentary session.

WE ARE NOT HELPLESS FOR ALLIANCE : CM
JALNA: Speaking at a rally of BJP activist in Jalna, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said "We are willing to get into an alliance with like minded parties that will follow the agenda of Hindutva, but nobody should think that we are helpless for any alliance. Those who come with us are welcome but if some parties want to put difficult conditions and dominate us, then we are capable of fighting the elections on our own. I want to stress here that all should understand that we are not helpless"

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