12:08 pm - Wednesday November 4, 2015

Shiv Sena, BJP horses are unstoppable, says Saamana

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Saamna, which is the official mouthpiece of the BJP has also become all sweetness and light towards the BJP.

An editorial in the newspaper today said the situation in the state is “good” and the “horses of Sena-BJP are running fast and are unstoppable” against “Congress-NCP mules”.

Sena, in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, also blamed “some in the media” for wanting the alliance to snap.

“The situation in Maharashtra is good. The horses of Sena-BJP are running fast and are unstoppable. There is no value of Congress-NCP mules,” it said even as leaders of the two parties today came together in front of the media for the first time in several days and asserted both wanted the alliance to continue.

“What news is there if the alliance remains? But there is certainly news if it snaps. That is why, some in media are waiting for the alliance to snap,” the editorial said.

“It is said that there is betting of Rs 100-500 crore on whether ‘Mahayuti’ alliance will remain or break,” it said, adding “media is now part of this betting. A section is waiting for the alliance to break so that it can be sensational news.”

1.39 pm: NCP-Congress alliance unlikely to continue?

And even as we see reconciliatory gestures on the one hand, we are seeing irreconcilable differences on the other.

The latest news from Maharashtra now, is that the NCP and Congress alliance is unlikely to continue. The Times Now channel said that senior Congress leaders had said they had drawn the line at 124 seats for the NCP, although it wants to contest an equal number of seats.

1.15 pm: Sena, BJP to meet other allies before revealing new proposal

The BJP and the Shiv Sena have met the press to say that they are considering various means by which the alliance can be saved.

Addressing a joint press conference a short while ago, Vinod Tawde of the BJP said both parties were of the view that the alliance should stay together and were working out various proposals. Other parties in the alliance will also be consulted this evening about the seat sharing proposal”.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut agreed, saying, “Only BJP and Shiv Sena will decide future of this alliance. Both sides of the opinion that alliance should prevail”.

1.12 pm: Shiv Sena scrambling to save alliance

Senior Shiv Sena leaders have held talks with BJP aiming to end the deadlock on seat sharing that is threatening to disintegrate their 25-year-old alliance ahead of the October 15 Maharashtra Assembly elections.

Sena group leader in Assembly Subhash Desai, party spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut arrived at the BJP office — Vasant Smriti Bhavan– in Dadar in central Mumbai around noon and met top BJP leaders on the alliance issue.

BJP’s Maharashtra poll in-charge Om Mathur and state party president Devendra Fadnavis were among those present at the meeting.

Fadnavis has convened a meeting of state BJP unit functionaries, district unit presidents, legislators and MPs here today to discuss the political situation ahead of the Assembly polls.

Leader of Opposition in Assembly Eknath Khadse and Leader of Opposition in Council Vinod Tawde are also participating in the meeting.

1.02 pm: Crucial meet at Sharad Pawar‘s residence

Amid standoff on seat sharing talks, National Congress Party (NCP) chief has called for an emergency meeting at his residence to discuss the ongoing issue. On Monday, party’s Core Committee chaired by Sharad Pawar met and agreed that the alliance with Congress should continue. But it also had insisted on getting a larger share of Maharashtra’s 288 Assembly seats than 124 offered by Congress.

12.03 pm: Shiv Sena climbs down? Agrees to BJP demand of 130 seats

Spooked perhaps by reports that the BJP was sending out some feelers towards Sharad Pawar’s NCP which is having its own problems with the Congress party, Shiv Sena leaders have reportedly climbed down from its ‘final offer’ of 119 seats and agreed to the BJP demand of 130 seats.
This also came amid signs that the BJP was readying to go it alone in the Maharashtra elections.The development was reported on the Times Nowchannel which said that the Shiv Sena had blinked first. Indications to this effect had first come when senior Shiv Sena leaders were quoted by the channel as saying that they hoped the Maharashtra alliance would be saved.

However the Times Now channel quoted sources as saying that the BJP was unhappy with the Sena ‘compromise’ because to give the BJP its desired 130 seats, it has severely reduced the number of seats given to smaller parties in the alliance.

Earlier a top Maharashtra BJP leader and the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Eknath Khadse even went to the extent of saying the alliance was on the “death bed”.

The deadlock had left smaller allies of ‘Mahayuti’, the mega-alliance led by Sena and BJP, restive with one of them threatening to walk out and contest the polls alone.

Meanwhile on the other hand, it looks like the Congress and NCP are not really that close to patching things up. The Congress had reportedly told the NCP to ‘take it or leave it’ even as talks between the two sides reportedly ended inconclusively.

Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane told reporters that the two sides have decided to meet again at 8.30 pm as “no solution could be arrived at.” The meeting was held at Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s official residence – Varsha.

Congress has been refusing to yield to NCP’s demand for equal seats, while the latter has rejected offer of 124 of the state’s 288 Assembly seats.

NCP leader Praful Patel and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, state party chief Sunil Tatkare and other leaders attended the meeting, to resolve the seat-sharing deadlock and salvage the 15-year-old alliance.

State Congress chief Manikrao Thakre, who was present at the meeting, also said the “talks were inconclusive.”
The NCP’s core committee chaired by party chief Sharad Pawar had gone into a huddle here yesterday where it reaffirmed that the alliance should continue but insisted on getting a larger share of the state’s 288 Assembly seats than 124 offered by Congress.

NCP had contested 114 and Congress 174 in 2009 Assembly elections and has been insisting on fielding candidates in half of the 288 seats, citing it had double the number of Lok Sabha seats in the state than Congress. In the worst-ever performance for the ruling alliance, NCP had won 4 Lok Sabha seats against Congress’ 2.

7.00 am: Fed up BJP planning to go it alone?

Firstpost editor Sanjay Singh says that the general feeling among the Maharashtra BJP is that Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has gone too far, especially with his barb against PM Narendra Modi.

He writes:

Uddhav said, “Everyone knows how terrible the situation was when the Godhra riots took place…Everyone was saying that Modi should be immediately removed from the Gujarat CM’s post. At that time, it was only Balasaheb who told LK Advani that Modi should stay on, given that he pursues the Hindutva ideology.

The BJP leaders are agitated over Uddhav’s remarks, which implied that it was time for Modi to return the favour.

“Shiv Sena has unfortunately got into this habit of upbraiding even the top leadership of the BJP. As an alliance partner, the least they could have done was to spare Modi. But sometimes they say there was no Modi wave, and at other times they say that Modi reached the top only because the Thackeray family stood by him. The Sena did not make life any easier for Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani, but since everyone respected Bal Thackeray’s stature and understood his temperament, ties never came to breaking point. Uddhav should realise he is no Bal Thackeray and things are different in 2014. They can’t be given a free run”, a BJP leader said.

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