NEW DELHI: Shiv Sena seeks to contest 152 seats in Maharashtra, leaving the remaining 136 for the BJP. His proposal is not very different from the one that the party put forward in 2014. At that time, the Shiv Sena wanted 155 seats for itself and left just 130 for the BJP. That had led to the two parties going their separate ways.
The significant difference this time is that the Shiv Sena wants a pre-poll pact in place whereby it would have its nominee as the chief minister, should the alliance win a majority. The Sena seeks through a prior contract in Maharashtra what HD Kumaraswamy secured through post-poll circumstances in Karnataka.
It has sensed that the BJP needs allies, and that Amit Shah called on Uddhav Thackeray despite the Shiv Sena’s unhelpful conduct — carrying out tirades against Narendra Modi, ridiculing the Devendra Fadnavis government in almost all public meetings and snatching the BJP’s candidate for the Lok Sabha by-election in Palghar. The party has realised that it has leverage.
Thus, the long-standing convention that the party winning the higher number of seats gets the chief minister’s post, is sought to be given a go-by. That is, heads or tails, the party runs the government as the senior partner. Apparently, Uddhav Thackeray’s calculation is that his case would not be as pathetic as that of Kumaraswamy.