The BJP has walked away with the lion's share in seat-sharing negotiations with the Shiv Sena for the upcoming Maharashtra elections. While the party will field candidates from 164 seats along with smaller allies, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party has been granted 124.
The seat-sharing agreement between the two allies was finalised with the release of the BJP's fourth list of candidates on Friday. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had flown to Mumbai for the event after holding a massive roadshow in Nagpur Southwest, from where he filed his nomination.
Maharashtra will go to the polls on October 21, and the votes will be counted three days later. As many as 288 seats are up for grabs in the electoral contest, which will also have the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine competing for power.
Addressing a press conference after the announcement of the fourth list, Devendra Fadnavis said that while his party may have had differences with the Shiv Sena on certain issues, they are bound by the "common thread" of Hindutva. He also predicted that their alliance would notch an unprecedented victory in the upcoming elections.
The Shiv Sena chief downplayed the gruelling - sometimes bitter - seat-sharing negotiations taken up with the BJP in the days past. "It doesn't matter who is the younger or older brother. What matters is the relationship between brothers," Mr Thackeray said, metaphorically speaking.
Talks between the two parties over the last few months hadn't exactly been smooth. The Shiv Sena was hoping for a 50:50 seat-sharing formula similar to the one adopted for the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, and a section of its leaders even recommended ending the alliance if its demands were not fulfilled. However, the negotiations continued on Devendra Fadnavis' insistence.
In 2014, the Sena and the BJP had ended their alliance ahead of the state elections, only to get back together after the electorate delivered a split verdict.