Tribune News Service
Mumbai, July 21
BJP working president JP Nadda on Sunday asked his party workers to plan on contesting all the 288 constituencies in the forthcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra leaving the party’s ally, the Shiv Sena, stunned.
Addressing the party’s office-bearers during a meeting of the state executive, Nadda said the BJP and its allies could easily bag 220 of the 288 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly going by the trends during the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.
“Any decision on the alliance would be taken by party chief Amit Shah and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis but our party workers should be prepared to contest all the seats,” Nadda said at the executive meeting.
Leaders of the Shiv Sena were, however, quick to point out that the BJP was preparing to ditch the regional party again just like it did after 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“We are also preparing to contest all the 288 seats in the assembly. If the BJP ditches us like it did last time we can give it a tough fight,” Shiv Sena leader and Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam told reporters here shortly after Nadda’s comments were reported by television channels here.
Earlier today, in a newspaper interview, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray said his party and the BJP have decided to share everything equally including the post of chief minister.
While the Shiv Sena insists that the next CM would be from its fold in case the saffron combine wins the assembly elections again, BJP leaders here insist that no such deal has been agreed upon.
Thackeray is presently on a Jan Ashirwad Yatra across Maharashtra to thank the people for the good showing of the Shiv Sena in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
Shiv Sena leaders such as Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut say the younger Thackeray is drawing good crowds across the state.
“Just look at the number of people coming for Aaditya Thackeray’s rally. Now imagine how many more will come when he takes oath as chief minister,” Raut said at a meeting on Saturday much to the discomfiture of BJP leaders here.