Shah chairs meeting to finalise BJP's Maharashtra poll strategy

PTI
Thursday, 26 September 2019

BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday chaired a meeting of the party's core group from Maharashtra to give final shape to its poll strategy, including seat-sharing with Shiv Sena, and zero down on candidates for the state assembly elections on October 21. 

New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday chaired a meeting of the party's core group from Maharashtra to give final shape to its poll strategy, including seat-sharing with Shiv Sena, and zero down on candidates for the state assembly elections on October 21. 

The meeting comes amidst reports of unease in saffron alliance in Maharashtra in view of the BJP offering fewer seats to the Sena instead of equal division of seats. However, sources played down these reports and expressed confidence that a seat-sharing deal will be announced soon by the two parties. 

The Sena may get anywhere around 115-125 seats to contest in the elections to the 288-member assembly, they said. 

There is also a view that the BJP may offer its Hindutva ally the post of deputy-chief minister to seal a deal but leaders in the party declined to comment on this, saying final contours of the alliance are still being firmed up. 

BJP working president J P Nadda, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union minister Nitin Gadkari and party general secretaries Bhupender Yadav and Saroj Pandey were among the leaders who attended the marathon meeting at the party's headquarters here.
  
After playing the role of junior partner in earlier elections, the BJP broke its alliance with the Sena in 2014 after they could not arrive at an amicable division of seats. 
 
However, the BJP got its highest ever tally of 122 seats, riding on the 'Modi wave', following which the Sena, which won 63 seats, allied with the BJP after the poll verdict. 

With the BJP's clout growing, the Sena blew hot and cold about its alliance and decided that it will not tie up with its partner for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. 

However, Shah reached out to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray before the general elections to clinch an alliance, after which it was announced that both parties had decided to contest an equal number of seats in the assembly polls. 

Citing the "changed" political equation and the BJP's thumping win in the Lok Sabha polls, the party has pushed its ally to contest fewer number of seats in the upcoming polls. 

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