Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut today said their party president Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis are firm on the alliance for the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls and are in the process of sealing the seat-sharing pact.
He also expressed hope that the Nanar refinery project, which is being opposed by the Sena, will not pose a hindrance in their alliance with the BJP.
"Talks for seat-sharing are in progress between Thackeray and Fadnavis. Both are firm on the alliance," Mr Raut said.
Senior BJP leader and state water resources minister Girish Mahajan also said that the alliance talks will pick up after Fadnavis' "Mahajanadesh Yatra" concludes, and it will be "finalised in two to three days".
He said there was a slight delay in talks as the chief minister was busy with his yatra, a public outreach campaign undertaken by him ahead of the polls.
"The alliance talks will pick up after Fadnavis concludes his yatra and will be finalised in two to three days. Both the parties are positive about the alliance and it will happen," Mr Mahajan said.
Mr Raut downplayed Diwakar Raote's remarks that the alliance looks unlikely if the Shiv Sena does not get 144 seats out of the total 288 in the state.
"Raote did not speak his mind. This is the stand of the alliance. He just spoke about the 50:50 formula which was finalised in presence of BJP chief Amit Shah," the Rajya Sabha member said.
Asked about the chief minister's remarks wherein he hinted at revival of the Nanar refinery project, which the Sena has been opposing, Mr Raut said Devendra Fadnavis did not make any comments against the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
"Fadnavis' yatra was not for the Nanar refinery project. I don't think Nanar or Aarey will cause problems in finalising the alliance," he said.
On the Sena's opposition to the proposed felling of over 2,600 trees in Aarey Colony in Mumbai to make way for a Metro car shed, he said, "Aarey issue is important for Mumbai's interest."
The refinery project at Nanar in Ratnagiri was aborted earlier this year at Sena's insistence as a pre-condition for an alliance with the BJP for the Lok Sabha polls.
The project, however, returned to limelight ahead of the Assembly polls, due next month, when Uddhav Thackeray recently said the proposed Metro car shed in Aarey Colony will go the Nanar way.
On speculations that former state chief minister Narayan Rane may join the BJP and senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal might return to the Sena, Mr Raut said: "We dont know. The BJP is a separate party. They are free to induct whom they want."
Mr Mahajan said some more inductions were likely into the BJP on Friday.
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