The BJP and the Shiv Sena will contest the Maharashtra state elections together and have come to an understanding on seat division that gives the lion's share to the BJP, sources told NDTV. The BJP will contest 144 of the state's 288 seats. The Sena will contest 126 seats and 18 seats have been allotted to the smaller allies. The Sena will also get the post of the Deputy Chief Minister, sources in the BJP said. Sources said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was keen that both parties should contest together this time. The alliance is expected to be announced on Sunday.
Elections will be held in Maharashtra on October 21 and the results will be declared on October 24.
With less than a month to go for the polls, the ruling alliance came to an understanding after an internal meeting of the BJP on Thursday where party chief Amit Shah and Working President JP Nadda took a call on the issue.
The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the party's core committee for the state -- including Pankaja Munde, Sudhir Munghantiwar and state leaders like Girish Mahajan. The leaders have also discussed names of the candidates and some sitting MLAs are likely to be dropped, the sources said..
With the Sena aiming for a 50:50 divide a section of state leaders were in favour of ending the alliance and having the BJP go on its own. Given the party's showing in the state in the Lok Sabha election, there were expectations that unlike the 2014 state elections, the party will achieve majority on its own.
Chief Minister Fadnavis, however, was in favour of the continuing the alliance and earlier this week, had told reports that it was on. The Sena was not keen to break off the alliance either, but was preparing for that eventuality in view of the state BJP leaders' views.
In 2014, the Sena and the BJP had ended their alliance ahead of the state elections, only to get back together after the state had delivered a split verdict. The BJP had turned out to be the single largest party, but fell far short of a majority.
This time, the negotiations over seat sharing went on for long. Earlier this week, senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the tussle was "as tedious" as the partition of India. At one point, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, in a sarcastic vein, said they would "wait for the Chief Minister to prepare a list of Shiv Sena candidates and seats they can contest".