The messy break up, which came after days of hectic parleys on seat-sharing between the leaders of both parties and their smaller allies has dramatically changed the scene in the state that has witnessed direct fight between two fronts - Sena-BJP and Congress-NCP--in the last 15 years. Also Read: Sad to part ways with Sena but no hard feelings: Rajiv Pratap Rudy Khadse said BJP, however, will contest polls along with smaller partners of the `mahayuti' alliance, which was forged just ahead of the April-May Lok Sabha elections.
"The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, which lasted over 25 years, has ended," senior State BJP leader Eknath Khadse told reporters at the party office here on Thursday night.
The announcement came after failure of seat-sharing talks between the two prominent partners of the six-party `Mahayuti' (grand) alliance, with just two days left to file nominations for the polls in 288 Assembly constituencies.
Buoyed by the Lok Sabha results in which the BJP-Sena alliance won 42 of the 48 seats, BJP upped the ante and demanded 135 which the Sena was not willing to give. Sena responded saying it would leave only 119 seats it had contested earlier but later agreed to concede a few more seats.
BJP later climbed down to 130. Describing the break-up as "unfortunate", Rajiv Pratap Rudy, party in-charge for Maharashtra, blamed the "inflexible attitude" of the Sena for the split.
State BJP President Devendra Fadnavis said the decision to part ways with the Sena was "unfortunate" and "taken with a heavy heart."
The Sena is the second constituent (after Haryana Janhit Congress) of the NDA to part ways with BJP after Amit Shah became its President in July.
There is speculation that Sena Lok Sabha MP Anant Geete may quit as Union Minister following today's developments.
"There was so less time to file papers and out talks with Sena weren't progressing. All proposals which came from Sena during the last 20-22 days of talks centred only on a specific number of seats and the issue of Chief Ministership," said Khadse, Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly.
Fadnavis said, "Today, they came with another proposal but said the discussion cannot progress beyond a certain number."
Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Vinod Tawde of BJP said the Sena proposal was discussed in the party's Core Committee meeting here today. "With so less time left to file nominations, it was decided to take this painful decision."
"We agreed to disagree (with Sena)," said Tawde, one of the BJP leaders who was involved in numerous rounds of negotiations with the Uddhav Thackeray-led outfit.
After announcing the split, BJP was careful in not attacking the Sena over the break up and maintained it will avoid any criticism of its former ally during campaigning.
"We don't want any bitterness with Sena. We will not campaign against them in polls," Khadse added.
"We have finalised seat-sharing with RSP and SSS. We have almost done the same with Shiv Sangram," Fadnavis said.
Rashtriya Samaj Party (RSP), Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) and Shiv Sangram, led by Maratha leader
Vinayak Mete, are all part of the alliance and have pockets of influence in certain parts of Maharashtra.
Fadnavis said Tawde is holding talks with RPI leader Ramdas Athawale, another ally who commands influence among some sections of Dalits. "When all discussions are finalised, we will announce the seat-sharing formula to you (media)."
"We wanted the alliance, nurtured by Bal Thackeray (Sena founder), Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde (of BJP), to continue so as to ensure a Congress-free Maharashtra, where people were fed up with the corruption during the last 15 years of that party-led Government," Khadse said.
"BJP central leadership also wanted the alliance to continue and had left the (final) decision to the Core
Committee," Khadse said.
Soon after the split, Sena launched a fierce attack on its former ally, saying "the development is result of a tacit
understanding between BJP and Sharad Pawar's NCP." "There is a secret pact between BJP and NCP. BJP's decision to end the alliance is a result of that," Sena MP Anand Adsul said.
Rudy sought to emphasise that his party made every effort to salvage the alliance with Sena but failed in its endeavour.
"It is with a lot of anguish that I inform you that our efforts to arrive at a consensus on seat-sharing went in vain. We decided after a lot of thought to part ways as there was not enough time to continue with the discussions."
Earlier, only Sena and BJP were part of the saffron formation, but it expanded after other parties also joined in, which led to change in parameters, Rudy said.
Asked if Sena would opt out of the Narendra Modi Government, he said, "a decision on this may come tomorrow."
Uddhav Thackeray's son Aaditya, chief of the party's youth wing and one of the Sena interlocutors during the talks, said he was unhappy over the break up.
"Very sad that State BJP chose to part ways with 25-year-old ally Shiv Sena when we sided with them even in their bure din (bad days), unconditionally," Aaditya said.
"This alliance of Shiv Sena and BJP was forged by Balasaheb Thackeray and Pramod kaka (Mahajan) for ideology and development."
This alliance has seen many ups and downs, challenges and protests, but all of these were faced together. Vested interests were kept at bay, he said.
"This alliance was in place even before I was born. I've grown up in an atmosphere of unity with BJP leaders and members, so many fond memories!" the 24-year-old Yuva Sena chief said.
"For me, and many in SS-BJP, this wasn't a political alliance but a family forged by my Grandfather and Pramod kaka, Atalji and Advaniji."
Aaditya rued that his recent intervention to break the logjam in seat-sharing talks was not received favourably by some people in the BJP.
"For the last five days, I purposely chose not to comment on it, as for some State BJP leaders my age was more important than my effort for unity," he said.
The messy break up, which came after days of hectic parleys on seat-sharing between the leaders of both parties and their smaller allies has dramatically changed the scene in the state that has witnessed direct fight between two fronts - Sena-BJP and Congress-NCP--in the last 15 years.
Also Read: Sad to part ways with Sena but no hard feelings: Rajiv Pratap Rudy
Khadse said BJP, however, will contest polls along with smaller partners of the `mahayuti' alliance, which was forged just ahead of the April-May Lok Sabha elections.