M A I N   N E W S

In M’rashtra, Sena plays hard ball
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 15
The BJP has delayed its announcement of the Assembly poll candidates for Haryana and Maharashtra after its ally Shiv Sena rejected its proposal for contesting 135 seats.

“A CEC meeting for announcement of candidates may take place this weekend, though nothing has been finalised,” a senior BJP leader said, while dismissing all speculations about possible breakup of the party’s alliance with the Shiv Sena.

The BJP has proposed that the two senior partners settle for 135 seats each and distribute the remaining 18 seats among smaller allies in Maharashtra. “They (BJP) offered a proposal under which they wanted to contest 135 seats and I have rejected it. Everything has an alternative. I have conveyed to the BJP that I can’t go beyond a point (over the number of seats to contest),” said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. He is reportedly unwilling to settle for anything less than 150 seats and the CM’s post.

For Haryana, the BJP has announced candidates for 43 seats but the remaining 47 are yet to be made public. For Maharashtra, no announcement can be made till there is clarity on the number of seats to be contested by six parties in the Maharashtra Mahayuti.

The BJP is confident of solving the rift with the Shiv Sena. Explaining why the chances of a breakup with its old ally are limited, a leader said: “The Haryana case was different. Kuldeep Bishnoi was a new ally who had brought nothing to the table. The Shiv Sena is an old ally.” The Sena chief tried to play down differences with the BJP. “I want the alliance to stay intact. Until a decision is taken, I will not say anything negative,” he said. (With Agency inputs)

Allies want tie-up to remain intact

* Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray rejects the BJP’s proposal to contest 135 seats

* Though he wants the alliance to remain intact, he is ‘unwilling to settle for anything less than 150 seats and the CM’s post’

* BJP leaders are confident of healing the rift and announcing candidates by the weekend






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