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State BJP leaders bend backwards to retain alliance with Shiv Sena

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
By Prashant Hamine

Keeping in mind not just the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, the fact that there are crucial elections to six Rajya Sabha and 21 Legislative Council elections in the state this year, the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership has begun backdoor talks with Shiv Sena leaders close to Sena President Uddhav Thackeray to revive the broken saffron alliance. Drawing an analogy from a quarreling couple, a senior BJP leader remarked, “Though in a marriage the husband and wife fight, I want my wife to stay with me. I do not want a divorce.” While another senior BJP minister, speaking on condition of anonymity to newspersons, argued that if both the saffron allies contest the 2019 elections separately, both are bound to loose and hence talks are on to keep alive the saffron alliance.

The camp led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has all along been in favour of maintaining the alliance with the Sena. However, the party's recent internal surveys on its poll prospects have revealed that if the two saffron allies contest elections separately they are bound to loose badly. Sources disclosed soon after Sena President Uddhav Thackeray announced his decision to contest future elections on its own at the partys national executive last month, that hectic parleys are on between the second tier leaders fromboth the parties.

However, the hawks in the Sena are ruling out any possibility of a patch-up with the BJP, arguing that the doors of return have long been shut and that there was no way of changing the decision now. However, another Sena leader, while speaking on condition of anonymity, reinstated the oft repeated Sena demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah will have to come down to Matoshree and visit Uddhav Thackeray.

Meanwhile, another BJP leader argued that if all the parties contest elections separately, then too the BJP can win. However, if the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party form an alliance then it will be an uphill task for the BJP to fight the elections on its own.

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