Top brass tells cadres to disregard reports of allies sharing power equally.
New Delhi: Amid growing friction between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena over the latter’s ambition for the Maharashtra chief ministerial post, the BJP top brass has categorically told its state unit that both the “big brother” status and the top post in the state would be retained by it.
The BJP top brass, sources said, has also clarified to its cadre that they should not worry about “reports coming from the other side on equal power sharing” as “abhi wali vyavastha he bani rahegi (status quo will be maintained)” when it comes to sharing power in the state.
The Shiv Sena has been projecting its youth leader and party chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son, Aaditya, for the CM’s post and speculation is rife that he could contest the coming Assembly polls. Its leaders have been quoted as saying that equal power-sharing includes splitting the CM’s tenure between the two parties as well. Both allies had contested the last Assembly polls in 2014 separately as they could not agree on a seat-sharing formula. However, the Sena later joined the BJP-led government after the polls.
Though the two allies are yet to officially discuss the issue, sources disclosed that the BJP could push for both allies contesting an equal number of seats. In the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had contested on 25 seats and the Sena 23.
While a section within the Sena, it was learnt, want the party leadership to be assertive on the chief minister’s post, the majority is of the view that the regional party has lost major ground to the
BJP in the state because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development plank and the nationalist agenda.
With the Modi government’s decision on Article 370, the Sena leadership, sources said, feels that it would only add to the BJP’s poll prospects. In the last Assembly polls, when the two allies contested separately, the BJP had won 122 seats of the 260 it contested while the Shiv Sena won only 63 of the 282 seats it contested. The state Assembly has a strength of 289, out of which one member is nominated.