A senior BJP cabinet minister in Maharashtra said his party and its bickering ally Shiv Sena will lose the 2019 Assembly polls if they fight separately, and discussions for alliance are going on. “A Sena leader close to (Shiv Sena chief) Uddhav Thackeray recently came to my house and we held talks about alliance. Preserving the alliance is a necessity for both the parties, because if the Congress and NCP fight together and we fight separately, both (saffron) parties will lose.
If we come together, we will win around 190 seats (out of 288),” the minister said. When asked about Thackeray’s assertion that his party will fight all polls in future on its own, the minister pointed out how the equations changed dramatically in Bihar. “Nitish Kumar had publicly insulted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but later he joined us. It will happen here as well,” he said. “If a leader like Modi can accept Nitish for the sake of the country, we (state leaders) are small fry. What ego we should have,” he said. A large number of people in both the BJP and Sena want the alliance to continue, he claimed. “There will be so much pressure from people and party workers that alliance will become inevitable,” he said. When asked for reaction, a senior Sena leader categorically denied that any such talks are underway. “It’s just kite-flying,” the leader said. Uddhav Thackeray had stated last month that his party will have no tie-up with the BJP in future elections, and accused the latter of trying to upstage the Sena on its home turf.