Maharashtra elections: Shiv Sena readies itself as tie-up with BJP still uncertain
Mumbai, Sep 16: Amid speculations that the BJP might not agree to the seat-sharing formula being proposed by it for upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena has been conducting interviews of ticket aspirants for all the 288 assembly seats, and reviewed its poll preparedness on Sunday at a party meeting.
A Sena leader said they have been asked by the party leadership to be prepared for any eventuality. The BJP had taken a lead in conducting such interviews in the last few weeks.
Officially, leader of both the parties have been maintaining that the BJP and the Sena will contest the polls together. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday held a meeting of party MPs, MLAs, divisional heads (vibhaag pramukhs) at his residence 'Matoshree' in Mumbai to take stock of the preparations and assessed the list of probable candidates for western Maharashtra and Marathwada, sources said.
"Uddhavji discussed the poll plan for all regions as we are in election mode now. As always, we have been asked to be prepared for any eventuality. Last time [in 2014] we were not ready suffered. This time we are better prepared, if the need arises," he said.
In past as well the seat sharing strategy didn't work outr between the two partners with 2014 elections being the most recent example. Shiv Sena and the BJP had contested the assembly elections separately due to differences in the last moment.
They later came together to form the government. The BJP had then won 122 seats while the Sena 63. While the Sena is stressing on the 50:50 seat sharing formula for the upcoming polls, the BJP is apparently eyeing more seats to accommodate leaders from other parties who have joined the party recently.
However, Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, who is currently touring Konkan region as a part of his 'Jan Aashirwad Yatra', maintained the Sena will go by the 50:50 formula announced by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis while declaring the alliance in February.
"The Shiv Sena never betrayed anyone. We will go by what the chief minister had said in the press conference. Beyond that, we will abide by whatever orders the party president give to us," he told reporters.
The Sena has completed interviews of ticket hopefuls from western Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Marathwada regions. Interestingly, Thackeray had said in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently that the alliance with the BJP was inevitable.