BJP announced the break-up with Sena as seat-sharing talks collapsed over the latter's refusal to sacrifice seats for smaller allies and reported insistence of party president Uddhav Thackeray on Chief Ministership.

First came the split in the saffron alliance, forged by Sena founder Bal Thackeray and BJP leaders Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde, which had stood the test of time, as seat-sharing talks broke down after seemingly endless rounds of parleys.

Then it was the turn for NCP, Congress' oldest ally in UPA, to break their 15-year association, citing neglect by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, and deciding to withdraw from the government.

The messy break up between ideologically compatible pro-Hindutva allies came after days of hectic parleys on seat-sharing between the leaders of the two parties and their smaller allies, often marked by tough posturing, while the separation between Congress and NCP followed protracted frosty vibes from the two sides.

With just two days left to file nominations for the polls in 288 Assembly constituencies, the two prominent partners of the six-party `Mahayuti' (grand) alliance decided to contest the polls on their own.

Buoyed by the Lok Sabha results in which the BJP-Sena alliance won 42 of the 48 seats, BJP had upped the ante and demanded 135 which the Sena was not willing to give. Sena responded saying it would leave only 119 seats BJP 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.

Today's developments have dramatically altered the political landscape in Maharashtra, which had become used to two blocs - Sena-BJP and Congress-NCP - dominating the scene.

"The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, which lasted over 25 years, has ended," senior state BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Eknath Khadse said announcing the decision.

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