Nagpur: The BJP in Maharashtra once again reached out to its estranged alliance partner Shiv Sena for forging an alliance for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 "to prevent division of votes".
BJP state unit president Raosaheb Danve said in Nagpur that the alliance with Sena could happen on a formula that had been agreed upon by BJP leader Pramod Mahajan and Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray (both deceased now) in 1990.
However, he clarified that the number of seats to be contested by each parties would be decided through deliberations.
Responding to a query of reporters on whether the BJP will fight the upcoming polls in alliance with Shiv Sena, Danve said, "It is our wish to contest the polls jointly with Sena because that party is our old ally of many years. We also want to prevent the division of votes".
He said the BJP and Sena had fought all elections together with an exception of 2014 state assembly elections.
When asked if the BJP is keen to contest with its allies because it is not sure of victory in 2019, Danve referred to the first NDA (National Democratic Alliance) alliance government that had come to power under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"From the time of Vajpayee, the BJP has the ability to form government with the alliance partners.
Vajpayee had run the NDA government comprising 23 alliance partners," he said.
"We feel that all alliance partners should stay together and contest elections jointly," he said, adding that the BJP is strong and not helpless.
"However, it is our wish to contest the elections with alliance partners," said Danve.
Citing an internal survey conducted by his party, Danve said the BJP would win 200 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly and emerge as the largest party in the state in elections due in October next year.
In 2014 assembly polls, the BJP had won 122 seats and the Sena 62. In the Lok Sabha polls held that year, the BJP bagged the highest 23 seats and Sena (18) of the total 48 seats. Among remaining seats, the Congress won 2 and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 4, while one seat went to Swabhimani Paksha of Raju Shetty.
When asked if construction of Ram Mandir would be the BJP's agenda for upcoming elections, he said party would contest on the plank of development, but at the same time would not drop the issue of the temple.
Recently, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar have expressed hope the Sena will tie up with the BJP for the 2019 assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
BJP president Amit Shah had met Thackeray at the latter's residence in Mumbai in June this year, apparently to placate the recalcitrant ally.
Updated Date: Oct 30, 2018 10:30 AM