A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) resolved to go it alone in the state, party state unit chief Chandrakant Patil said they were willing to join forces with the Shiv Sena in the interests of Maharashtra.
On Monday, BJP national president J.P Nadda had announced that the party must prepare to come to power on its own strength in Maharashtra.
But, on Tuesday, Patil, who is a former minister, said the BJP and the Shiv Sena could come together for the interests of Maharashtra, if the BJP high-command, and chief minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray made up their minds.
“If the (BJP) central leadership comes up with a formula to share power in the interests of the state, and if the Shiv Sena is amenable to it (this can happen),” he stated.
Patil however stressed on a caveat: even if they came together, the BJP and the Shiv Sena must fight all elections separately despite being in the government, rather than in a pre-poll alliance. They could come together after the elections in case any party fell short of numbers.
“I am expressing a collective opinion (of BJP workers). We fought elections together, they benefitted from the BJP’s vote-bank and (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s image and work… but they (Shiv Sena) joined hands with those against whom we had fought the elections,” said Patil.
Meanwhile, reacting to Patil's statement, leader of opposition and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said Patil's statement was in reply to a specific question. He pointed to how the BJP national president had said the BJP would fight the next polls on own strength. Fadnavis added that neither the Shiv Sena or the BJP had approached each or floated a proposal to form the government.