The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday gave enough indications that it was gearing up to play the role of the big brother in its alliance with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra even as it faced a strong pitch from within to go solo in the upcoming State elections.
“The BJP strike rate in the State is better [than the Sena’s] and hence it's natural that our volunteers want the party to grow. But in Maharashtra, our alliance is based on ideology. Our alliance party has stayed with us during good and bad days. Just because our party is witnessing good days doesn't mean that it should desert its friends,” State BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis said.
Mr. Fadnavis was speaking at the end of a day-long executive committee meeting of the BJP office bearers in the State held as part of the party's preparations for the upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections.
Amid a strong pitch by State leaders, including former MLAs, to go solo in the polls, Mr. Fadnavis said: “Whatever is your view I will surely take it up. I know there are issues and we will try to resolve it.”
Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Prakash Javadekar, and BJP state in-charge Rajiv Pratap Rudy also spoke. While they covered a range of issues, they remained non-committal on the subject of alliance.
The BJP is hoping to carry on the momentum of the Lok Sabha elections in which it secured 23 of the 24 seats it contested in the State. Riding on the “Modi-factor” the party feels it is in a position to demand a greater share in the seat-sharing agreement with its chief ally in the State, the Shiv Sena.
The BJP, sources say, is demanding 145 seats. In the 2009 Assembly polls, the BJP contested 119 seats, while the Sena fought on 169 seats.
However, the BJP is dogged by a leadership crisis after the death of Gopinath Munde.