Shiv Sena, BJP to have reached pre-poll alliance for LS polls: Sena leader Sanjay Raut

Mumbai: Shiv Sena, which has been at loggerheads with BJP and had even decided to go it alone in the upcoming general elections, has reached an agreement with BJP to have a pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha polls, Sena leader Sanjay Raut said on Monday.

A decision to this effect was taken by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and BJP president Amit Shah who held several rounds of discussion for a pre-poll understanding between the two long-standing allies, Raut told ANI.

“The discussions between the two leaders have concluded and an agreement for a pre-poll alliance has been taken,” he said.

Raut said that Thackeray and Shah will address a joint press conference in Mumbai later today during which the announcement will be made.

Shiv Sena, which is part of the BJP-led governments at the Centre as well as in the state, has had constant bickerings with BJP lately. It has targeted the Narendra Modi government over the Rafale deal, the Ram temple issue, farm crisis and fuel prices, among others.

Sources from both the parties, however, refused to disclose the seat-sharing formula for the general elections.

Shiv Sena has been firm that the alliance for the Lok Sabha polls could be firmed up only if BJP was ready to announce the seat-sharing formula for both the general and Assembly polls in Maharashtra.

During the party’s national executive meet in January last year, Shiv Sena had resolved to fight the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections on its own.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP and Shiv Sena contested as alliance partners and won 41 seats out of a total of 48 at stake in Maharashtra. BJP had won 22 seats, while Shiv Sena 19. However, they contested the subsequent Assembly polls separately.