Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday announced that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena would come together for the ensuing Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. “Shiv Sena will fight on 23 seats and BJP will fight on 25 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections,” Fadnavis said at a press conference on Monday.
Informing about the move, Maharashtra CM Fadnavis said: “We have taken this (alliance3) decision in the interest of the nation and we believe NDA will come to power in 2019.”
The chief minister further said that the BJP was in full support of Uddhav Thackeray’s demand of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. “We have tried to acquire 67 acres of land for temple trust,” he added.
The joint press conference in Mumbai was addressed by Fadnavis, BJP president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Speaking on the occasion, Uddhav Thackeray said that “people are seeing Shiv Sena and BJP for the past 30 years. For 25 years, we stood united and for the last five years, there was some confusion”. He, however, said that whatever happened has happened, now both the parties will work together.
BJP president Amit Shah said that it was the desire of the workers of both the parties and today, their wish was fulfiled.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena, who have had a strained relationship for over four years despite being partners in the central and the state government, took the decision a year after the Thackeray-led party passed a resolution to go solo in the forthcoming elections. Maharashtra has 48 Lok Sabha seats.
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In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the two parties along with their allies had won 42 out of the 48 seats. The BJP had bagged 23 seats, while the Shiv Sena had emerged victorious in 18 constituencies. The two parties had contested the October 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election separately and came together to form government in a post-poll arrangement.