Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday announced an alliance between the BJP and Shiv Sena for both Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections in 2019.
"We have had our differences, but in terms of ideologies, we are alike. Hence, we have stayed together for this long," Fadnavis said while addressing a press conference. The Shiv Sena will fight on 23 seats, while the BJP will fight on 25 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
"Both parties are based on Hindutva ideology. For many years, we've worked for Maharashtra and the country. In the last 4.5 years, we have been a part of the government in the Centre and state. We think parties which share similar national interests must come together. We have decided to contest Lok Sabha and state elections together."
He said that the parties were committed to working for the farmers and the poor, while also bringing up the demand for the Ram temple in Ayodhya. "We all know the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya is a major issue. BJP is in full support of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's demand of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. We have tried to acquire 67 acres land for temple trust," Fadnavis said. "We have taken this decision in the interest of the nation and we believe NDA will come to power in 2019."
On the Maharashtra Assembly election, Fadnavis said that the parties will hold discussions with other allies. "Leaving the numbers of seats taken by our allies, BJP and Shiv Sena will fight on an equal number of seats," he said.
Thackeray and BJP president Amit Shah were also present at the press briefing. "State Assembly elections are also in four months. The seats are divided equally for it; responsibilities will also be divided in half," the Shiv Sena chief said.
Shah exuded confidence in the alliance, claiming that BJP and Shiv Sena will together win 45 out of total 48 seats in Maharashtra.
Shah had met Thackeray in Mumbai earlier on Monday amid indications that the two allies were set to retain the tie-up for the ensuing elections.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena, who have had a strained relationship for over four years despite being partners in the central and the state government, took the decision a year after the Thackeray-led party revealed its plans to contest on its own in the 2019 elections.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the two parties along with their allies had won 42 out of the 48 seats. The BJP had bagged 23 seats, while the Shiv Sena had emerged victorious in 18 constituencies.
The two parties had contested the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election separately and came together to form government in a post-poll arrangement.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 18, 2019 20:41:11 IST