Chinks appear in BJP-Sena relation over seat sharing

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 7 2009, 05:23am hrs
The cracks between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena have been surfaced over sharing of 48 Lok Sabha seats with the former taking an aggressive posture. BJP, annoyed over Senas dillydallying over continuing their over two-decade old alliance, on Thursday asked Sena to come clean on its connections with the Nationalist Congress Party chief and the Maharashtra strongman Sharad Pawar and also asked it to support NDA candidate LK Advani for prime ministership and not not Pawar.

Sena, which made last ditch effort to strike an electoral pact with NCP by severing its alliance with the BJP, has taken a consistent view that it will support Pawar, a Maharashtrian, for the PM post if the situation arises.

BJP also clarified that the seat sharing talks are incomplete and indicated that it would not succumb to Senas pressure and compromise certain seats such as south Mumbai, Kalyan and Yavatmal. Both the saffron parties on Wednesday started seat sharing talks despite severe pressure from its senior leaders and rank and file against continuing their alliance.

State BJP unit chief Nitin Gadkari said The Sena had given commitment to support Advani. If there is a change in that party's policy...if this is their agenda now, the Sena-BJP alliance cannot proceed. If the Sena wants to go with Pawar, we won't object. But they should make their position clear on the issue of whom will they support for the prime ministerial post.

Gadkaris statement comes amidst reports that BJP and SS had reached to a consensus on going ahead with the 26:22 formula for the LS seats in the state. However, Gadkari and other BJP leaders clarified that the talks will further go on and there was no agreement so far between the two over sear sharing.

BJPs stand assumes significance when Sena leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi had announced that BJP would contest 26 seats while Sena would contest 22 seats.