BJP chief Amit Shah, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray addressed a joint press conference on Monday, where they confirmed that the two parties will form an alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha as well as state elections later this year.
The two parties had been at loggerheads over a number of issues, and it had seemed that they would go solo, both in state and at the Centre. But following a meeting between the cheif's of the two parties, they decided to keep aside their small diferrences and work together for the polls.
"Everyone knows that Shiv Sena and BJP have been together for 25 years. We may have differences, but ideologically we are together. For last four and a half years, we have been running the government together. There was popular sentiment that nationalist parties should come together, and we have decided to form an alliance for both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections," Fadnavis said while confirming the alliance.
The Maharashtra CM then made clear that while there were a few differences between the BJP and Shiv Sena, both the party's stand on Ram Mandir was one of the reasons for them to come together.
"Uddhav (Thackeray) presented some issues to us and we have given all of this a thought and then decided to an alliance....We know that Shiv Sena wanted Ram temple to be constructed and BJP has given full support and both our parties are in support of this," he added.
As for the seat sharing, Fadnavis did not stress much upon it, though, did mention that the two parties have come to a consensus, both for the Lok Sabha as well as Assembly polls.
The two parties will fight in equal number of seats when it comes to the state elections. As for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the BJP will contest from 25 seats and Shiv Sena will contest from 23 seats.
Uddhav Thackeray also expressed his happiness over the alliance being confirmed, saying that past issues should now be forgotten and the two parties will continue on like they have been doing since the past 30 years.
"After Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha (state elections) will be contested in 3-4 months.. And seat sharing will be a responsibility....There is no point in focusing on what went wrong in the past...but we should remember this and see to it that it doesn’t happen again...People are seeing Shiv Sena and BJP for the past 30 years. For 25 years, we stood united, but for 5 years, there was confusion. But like CM said, I still provided guidance to govt from time to time" he added.
BJP chief Amit Shah spoke last, and just like his Sena compatriot, expressed his satisfaction on working again with one of his party's oldest allies.
"Today we have decided to be in Alliance... CM has already informed about seat sharing... I want to tell workers of both parties that Sena and Akalis are our oldest allies in good times and bad and I am happy that the small misunderstanding has been ended and both parties are coming together," he said.
He then thanked Uddhav Thackeray for keeping aside the differences, and showed confidence that the alliance will dominate the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
"This is not just a political alliance but also an ideological parties. BJP-Sena will win a minimum of 45 seats in Lok Sabha elections. Our Alliance has thrown out corruption from the state. I am confident we will win both Lok Sabha and assembly and be together for a long time. I thank you Uddhav for having a big heart and resolving our conflicts," Amit Shah added.