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Modi, Shah meet to resolve stand-off

Modi, Shah meet to resolve stand-off
Highlights

Narendra Modi, Amit Shah Meet to Resolve Stand-Off. The Bharatiya Janata Party has begun its brainstorming session to resolve a crisis with its oldest ally in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena.

  • BJP threatens to go it alone in the Assembly polls
  • Time to return favour: Uddhav's message to Modi

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party has begun its brainstorming session to resolve a crisis with its oldest ally in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the party's central election committee meeting to discuss ways to convince the Sena to accept its formula of contesting 135 seats each in next month's assembly election in Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray reminded Modi that after 2002 Gujarat riots his father Bal Thackeray had prevailed on L K Advani not to remove Modi as CM.

Asserting that the alliance should stay "as it is for Hindutva", Uddhav said, "Everyone knows how terrible the situation was when the Godhra riots took place.

"Everyone was saying that Modi should be immediately removed from the Gujarat CM's post. At that time, it was only Balasaheb who told L K Advani that Modi should stay on as he pursues the Hindutva ideology," he said.

"The big question is whether the alliance with the BJP will survive," admitted the Uddhav on Sunday, making yet another "final offer 119" on seat sharing to the BJP. One that he said was a supreme concession to his ally "for the sake of Maharashtra". The Sena made a fresh offer to its partner, but the BJP is not ready to buy it. At a national executive meet of his party, Thackeray said his party was ready to contest 151 of Maharashtra's 288 seats, considerably less than the 169 it had fought the last time. He said the 18 extra seats from the Sena's kitty could be given to their allies in what is called the 'Mahayuti' alliance, leaving 119 for the BJP to contest - exactly the number it had fought in 2009. The BJP, its ally, would not then have to shell out any seats to the smaller allies.

Soon after the BJP indicated that it was not impressed.

"The BJP has a higher percentage of seats it won in comparison to the Shiv Sena," said Eknath Khadse and Vinod Tawde, two of the party's top leaders from Maharashtra. The BJP argues that after its superior performance in the Lok Sabha elections four months ago it cannot be counted as the junior partner in the state anymore and wanted both parties to contest 135 seats each, leaving the rest for smaller allies. The party then even agreed to contest 130 seats, giving the Sena 140.

The BJP said there was a rationale to its formula. "The Shiv Sena has never won on 59 seats, while that number is 19 for the BJP. If these were to be re-allocated then we would all benefit," explained Khadse and Tawde. The party even threatened to go alone in the polls. The Sena takes that as a huge slight and says its cadres will rebel.

At stake is the post of chief minister; the partner that will win the most seats will get the post should the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition come to power.

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