Having managed to squeeze a 50-50 seat-sharing deal out of the BJP in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections, the Shiv Sena now seems set to drive an equally hard bargain for the upcoming battle for Maharashtra.
Varun Sardesai, secretary of the Yuva Sena, today claimed that both the parties will rotate chief ministers for a period of two-and-a-half years each after jointly winning the assembly polls in October. The plan, he claimed, has the approval of BJP chief Amit Shah.
The Yuva Sena is the youth wing of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, with his son Aditya Thackeray serving as its president. Its brightest moment came in March last year, when it won eight of the 10 seats in the Mumbai University's senate.
The Yuva Sena's claim came in response to a comment by Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar that the next chief minister of the state would also be from the BJP. "The post will go to us, and there is not disagreement in the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance over this. We will also cross the 220 seat mark in the 288-member assembly this time," the senior BJP leader told reporters in Nashik, adding that the two parties would arrive at a seat-sharing agreement soon.
Varun Sardesai, however, didn't agree. "Shiv Sena president Uddhavsaheb and BJP Prez Amitji have decided that Maha CM post will be 2.5 years each. People who weren't present for negotiations shouldn't spoil the alliance for their personal gains (sic)," he tweeted.
Incidentally, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had also hinted in February that the next chief minister would be from his party.
The Shiv Sena had contested the assembly polls separately in 2014, only to back the BJP after it emerged as the single-largest party with 122 seats. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party had come a distant second with 63 seats.
However, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said there will be no room for disagreement between the two allies this time. The BJP and Shiv Sena will both contest 135 seats each, leaving 18 for other allies, he asserted.
(With inputs from PTI)