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BJP: Maharashtra CM post to be decided after polls

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Pune (Sept 14, 2014): Tension within the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance over seat sharing for upcoming Maharashtra assembly polls became perceptible with BJP on Sunday disapproving Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s statement that in the event of a saffron victory, the top post would go to Shiv Sena and that he was not averse to assuming it.

Expressing party’s displeasure over the statement made by Thackeray on a TV channel and prominently published in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamna’, BJP leader in charge of Maharashtra affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, “It is desirable to refrain from making such statements prior to elections and talks.”

Addressing a news conference here, Rudy said the two alliance partners had not discussed the issue of chief ministership so far. “This issue will be decided after the elections,” he said.

Asked about dissensions within the 25-year-old saffron alliance in Maharashtra over the issue of seat-sharing for the October 15 polls, Rudy said BJP expected “a mature and respectable understanding” from the Sena.

The BJP, he said, had proposed that after allotting respective share of seats to smaller alliance partners, including RPI (Athavale) and Swabhiman Party led by Raju Shetty, the remaining seats should be divided equally between BJP and Shiv Sena.

“Based on this, we expect to contest about 135 seats, leaving the same number to Shiv Sena”, Rudy said. In the 288-member house, Shiv Sena and BJP had contested 169 and 119 seats respectively in the last 2009 assembly elections.

Asked if BJP would go it alone and fight all 288 seats if the proposal failed to click with Shiv Sena, Rudy said, “Why to speculate? There is no plan A or B. We are awaiting their response.”

He noted that the BJP chief Amit Shah had recently met Thackeray at ‘Matoshree’ and both the parties had decided to keep the alliance intact and fight the polls together.

In reply to a question, he said, “Things have changed. There is no big or small brother in the alliance. We are partners.”

Relying to a query, Rudy said it would be wrong to question the “maturity” of Uddhav Thackeray in reference to ongoing talks on seat sharing, adding that he had handled his party affairs well after the demise of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.