Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, buoyed by the party's sparkling performance in the Maharashtra elections today, demanded that the BJP honour the 50:50 agreement made during his meeting with BJP chief and Union Minister Amit Shah earlier this year. The Sena, which contested on 126 seats, won 56, a few shorter than the 63 it won in 2014 when it broke ties with the BJP and went solo in all 288 seats of the state.
This time, the party was allotted 126 seats by the BJP, which kept the lion's share of 150 seats for itself. As a sweetener, the Sena was offered the Deputy Chief Minister's post.
But as trends started coming in today's counting of votes and the leads indicated that the Sena is heading for big numbers, the party indicated that it wanted a turn at the Chief Minister's post.
Asked about the matter, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said it was "time to implement the 50:50 formula". "We reached the formula when Amit Shah came to my house (ahead of the Lok Sabha elections). Now is the time to implement that," Uddhav Thackeray said.
Amit Shah had visited the Sena chief in his Mumbai residence Matoshree ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Not much was known about the discussions that took place.
"Sena contested less seats on BJP's request; we can't be so accommodating always," Uddhav Thackeray added, indicating misgivings about the number of seats offered.
During the long and sometimes bitter seat-sharing negotiations, the Sena had held out for a 50:50 division as well. But it failed to carry its point, given the BJP's spectacular performance in the Lok Sabha polls.
There was speculation that the Sena - a big critic of the Central policies - was not happy with the situation. But Uddhav Thackeray had downplayed the matter, saying "It doesn't matter who is the younger or older brother. What matters is the relationship between brothers".
What helped the Sena assert itself was the BJP's performance, which fell way below expectations. The party, which won 122 seats in 2014 and hoped to cross the majority mark of 145 this time, won 105 seats.