Mumbai, Sep 16 (UNI) Senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi was instrumental in cementing the gap in the 23-year old Sena-BJP alliance strengthening the formidable opposition in Maharashtra and paving the way for its continuation in the NDA led by BJP.
In fact, the process of disintegration was started by none other than BJP's natural ally, Sena at the time of presidential elections when the party decided to support Pratibha Patil on the grounds that she was a Maharashtrian and the first to occupy the coveted post.
The Maharashtra and central level BJP leaders were angry with the Sena on this issue. The state leaders were in a mood to break the alliance with Sena 'come what may'.
But senior Sena leader and 'man of crisis' of the party Manohar Joshi used all his skills in cementing the gap between Shiv Sena and BJP. His efforts were helped by the bickerings within the UPA over the nuclear deal, which may lead to mid-term polls, political analysts said.
Party sources said a senior BJP leader cooled the Maharashtra leadership by convincing them that in the eventuality of election, it would give a wrong signal if the alliance with Sena was broken and this would also affect the NDA's chances in the mid-term polls.
However, the angry BJP leaders, who were not ready to budge, being annoyed by complete lack of communication with Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, put several conditions before the party including sharing chief ministership for two and half years to increasing their seat quota by 25, the sources said.
The sources said a meeting on sorting out differences and strengthening the alliance between the two parties is likely to take place in Mumbai soon in the presence of leaders of both the parties.
The souring of the alliance started on the issue of Chimur bye election, when Maharashtra BJP president Nitin Gadkari staked party's claim for the same. Though, finally BJP got the same seat, its candidate was defeated.
Later, the relations were further strained at the time of presidential election. These two issues were supported by commplete lack of communication by Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray and the comments made in Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamna' about the BJP leaders.
The sources in both the parties admit that Sena supremo Bal Thackeray used to treat late Pramod Mahajan like his son and whenever there was a rift in the alliance, Mr Mahajan used to make it a point to visit the 'Hinduhridayasamrat' at his residence Matoshri and sort out the differences.