- In January last year, Shiv Sena declared it would fly solo for elections
- But there has been no formal notification to the BJP on the alliance
- The BJP is in favour of continuing the alliance
The BJP's cantankerous ally, Shiv Sena, met today to decide its strategy for the coming Lok Sabha elections. Without going into details about its conclusions, senior party leader Sanjay Sanjay Raut told reporters that the party will continue to be the "big brother" in any alliance.
"Shiv Sena is the big brother (in the alliance with BJP and other parties) in Maharashtra and will continue to remain so," Mr Raut told reporters. He, however, added, "There is no proposal from the BJP to form any alliance with the Shiv Sena. Those who wish to forge an alliance with us are talking about it. We are not waiting for any proposal to be offered to us".
But Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis made it clear that the BJP is "not desperate' for an alliance with the Sena. "BJP does want an alliance with the Shiv Sena but we are not desperate for it. We want the alliance as custodians of Hindutva and a strong force against corruption," he told reporters later in the evening.
In January last year, the Sena had declared that it would fly solo for the elections, but there has been no formal notification to the BJP that their alliance has ended. The BJP, which is in favour of continuing the alliance, has ignored its repeated criticism of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the governments at the centre and the state.
In 2014, the Sena and the BJP had won 41 of the state's 48 seats. The BJP had won 23 and the Sena 18 seats.The two parties, which ended their alliance just before the elections, were forced to get back together after the state delivered a hung verdict in the assembly polls held five months later.
But the renewed alliance had not weathered well, given the sudden change in dynamics.
Over their decades-long association, the Sena had always played the role of the big brother in the state.
But given their performance in the state for the two successive elections -- the BJP won 122 seats in the assembly election, way above Sena's 63 -- the BJP took the lead, forming a government under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis -- a situation that did not go down well with the Sena.
Ahead of last year's municipal elections, the two parties fell out over seat sharing. Peeved, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray declared that he would not ally with the BJP in future again.
Lately, however, there appears to have been a tweak in their stance. There have been reports that some of the Sena leaders said they would consider renewing the BJP was ready to replace Narendra Modi with Nitin Gadkari in the top post.
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