Two weeks after a section of its cadre demanded it contest the Maharashtra Assembly elections by itself, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Wednesday that its alliance with the Shiv Sena remained strong and the allies would face the polls together.
“Our alliance with the Shiv Sena is ideological and not political. The Shiv Sena supported us in difficult times. Our alliance remains strong and will continue through the elections,” said State BJP President Devendra Fadnavis, a day after his meeting with the party’s national president Amit Shah.
Mr. Fadnavis also said that the two parties would soon hold seat sharing talks and that the BJP’s first list of contestants for the state assembly elections would be out by August 15.
Against the backdrop of a struggle for supremacy between the allies, Mr. Shah is said to have advised the state BJP to preserve its ties with the Shiv Sena. The BJP has been asserting itself after its Lok Sabha victory and has already demanded a greater share of seats for the assembly polls. The Chief Minister’s post has also become a bone of contention between the allies.
Mr. Shah’s appointment as BJP President had caused unrest within the Shiv Sena. Senior leaders were wondering whether this would result in the BJP driving a harder bargain. For the moment, the Shiv Sena appears reassured. “Mr. Shah is a strong leader and will be an asset to the alliance,” said party MP Sanjay Raut.