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Highlights

It is a five-cornered contest for October 15 Assembly polls in Maharashtra. Both NCP-Congress and Shiv Sena-BJP alliances have collapsed over failure to arrive at seats-sharing formula.

  • BJP-Sena, Cong-NCP alliances break up in M’rashtra

With Shiv Sena out of the alliance, NCP led by Sharad Pawar and MNS (Maharashtra Navanirman Sena) led by Raj Thackeray are likely to support the BJP in the October 15 elections

BJP president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav ThackerayMumbai: It is a five-cornered contest for October 15 Assembly polls in Maharashtra. Both NCP-Congress and Shiv Sena-BJP alliances have collapsed over failure to arrive at seats-sharing formula. The fifth player is MNS headed by Raj Thackeray. Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel expressed regret over the Congress' failure to finalize a seat sharing arrangement with the NCP and other secular parties even two days before the deadline for nominations September 27. "We kept hearing from the media and unofficial channels about the number of seats the Congress was willing to offer us. Officially, there was only one occasion when they offered us 124 seats, which we rejected as we demanded 144 seats." "We have decided to chart our independent path along with some secular-minded parties," state NCP chief Sunil Tatkare told the media.

The announcement came shortly after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended its 25-year-old alliance with the Shiv Sena, one of whose leaders told IANS that the BJP had a "secret understanding" with the NCP. State BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis announced that the BJP and the Shiv Sena had "decided to go our independent ways" following the failure of seat-sharing talks.”

NCP president Sharad Pawar with Congress president Sonia GandhiThe break-up came after days of bickering over which party will contest how many seats and who will be the chief ministerial candidate. "We tried our level best till the very last to save the alliance," a grim looking Fadnavis told the media. "However, there was no suitable proposal from the Shiv Sena on the issue of seat-sharing which could honourably accommodate all the partners.

Though there was no immediate response from the Shiv Sena, the party is expected for now to continue in the BJP-led central government of Narendra Modi. The Shiv Sena and the BJP were part of a six-party "Grand Alliance" that included four smaller parties. The alliance was widely expected to seize power in the upcoming assembly elections.

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