Alliance on death bed; Sena refuses BJP’s fresh offer of 130 seats
MUMBAI: As BJP on Monday sent a “very liberal
proposal” to Shiv Sena seeking to contest 130 of Maharashtra’s 288 Assembly
seats, its saffron ally appeared in no mood to oblige, raising further the
possibility of disintegration of the 25-year-old alliance.
A top Maharashtra BJP leader and the Leader of
Opposition in the state Assembly Eknath Khadse even went to the extent of
saying the alliance was on the “death bed”.
The deadlock has left smaller allies of ‘Mahayuti’, a
mega-alliance led by Sena and BJP, restive with one of them threatening to walk
out and contest the polls alone.
A day after Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray talked tough
and made a “final offer’ under which his party would fight 151 seats, BJP 119
and allies the rest 18, BJP made a counter offer seeking 130, a climb-down from
earlier 135, but said it would contest all 288 seats if “compelled” to part
ways from its oldest ally in the NDA.
Though no Shiv Sena leader was prepared to go on
record about the party’s response to BJP’s proposal, a party MP, speaking on
condition of anonymity, said “the proposal is old. Uddhav Thackeray has made it
clear that his offer is final.”
BJP General Secretary in charge of Maharashtra Rajiv
Pratap Rudy said in Delhi that his party has sent “a very liberal proposal” to
Sena as the 130 seats include the “worst” possible seats which its ally had
never won in last 30 years.
“The fact is that the proposal which has been given
and conversation which has taken place with BJP President (Amit Shah)…. a very
liberal proposal has been sent to Shiv Sena.
“The other seats which we are demanding are those
which Sena has never won in last 30 years. We have said… give us the worst
possible seats but give us the numbers,” he said.
“In a contingent situation that the BJP is compelled
not to contest with Shiv Sena, we would go it alone on all 288 seats but we
will prefer that Shiv Sena comes along,” Rudy told reporters.
Party sources said they have prepared a list of
candidates for a majority of seats barring “20-30″ where they were still
looking for appropriate names or expecting leaders from other parties to join
“We are not in favour of breaking the alliance. But we
are also not in a mood of tolerating their (Sena) uncompromising attitude.
There can be flexibility but we are getting to hear their proposals only on
news channels,” a BJP leader said.