New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The BJP-Shiv Sena combine is set for another term in office as the results and trends of the Maharashtra Assembly elections gave a clear majority to the ruling alliance. As per the results and trends available so far, the BJP’s position in the 288-member Assembly was 102 while Shiv Sena’s tally stood at 57.

In the 2014 polls, the BJP had won 122 seats, the Sena 63, the Congress 42 and the NCP 41. The BJP and Sena had then contested separately. The Sena had joined the Fadnavis-led government over a month after it was formed.

This time the BJP and Shiv Sena once again flexed muscles with both the parties demanding a larger seat share, and the saffron party ended up getting a lion’s share of 150 seats. The Sena fielded candidates on 124 seats while the remaining 14 seats were given to smaller allies who fought on ‘Lotus’ symbol.

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In the seat-sharing deal, the BJP agreed to the state have the deputy chief minister from Shiv Sena. However, as the trends began trickling in today’s counting of votes indicating big numbers for Sena, the party pitched for Aaditya Thackeray as the next CM of the state.

Indicating that he would drive a hard bargain in talks with the BJP during government formation, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said it was time to implement "fifty-fifty" formula for power-sharing.   

While the two parties can form the government comfortably, the BJP fell short of its target of reaching near the half-way mark on its own, giving more leverage to the Sena.

Asked by reporters which party will get the chief minister's post, Thackeray said, "It is time to remind the BJP about the formula arrived at when BJP chief Amit Shah visited my home....we had decided on fifty-fifty formula for the alliance."

"We agreed to contest fewer seats (than the BJP), but I cannot accommodate the BJP every time. I should allow my party to grow," Thackeray said.

The Sena chief added that he will discuss the results with his party leaders and BJP leaders and arrive at the power-sharing formula in a peaceful and transparent manner before the alliance stakes claim to form the next government.

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Countering Thackeray, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis claimed that 15 rebel MLAs were in touch with him. Fadnavis also said it is the first time in the history of Maharashtra that a government and a CM have come to power again, indicating he would retain the top post.

Earlier in the day, Sena leader Sanjay Raut also pitched for Aaditya Thackeray as the next chief minister of the state and claimed that the BJP could not form government in the state without his party's support. 

Raut, however, ruled out possibility of the Shiv Sena joining hands with the opposition parties to form the new government.

Asked about the possibility of the Shiv Sena embracing the NCP and Congress to form government, Raut said, "No, we fought the polls in alliance with the BJP. We will go ahead with the tie-up."

In terms of the increase in number of seats compared to the 2014 polls, the Sharad Pawar-led NCP emerged as the largest gainer, while the BJP's tally took a considerable dip.

Prominent winners in the Assembly elections include Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, and Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde who trounced estranged cousin and BJP minister Pankaja Munde in a keenly-contested poll battle.

The exit polls had predicted a comfortable victory for the BJP-Shiv Sena combine in Maharashtra, with the poll of polls projecting 203-204 seats for the ruling alliance and 67-68 seats for the Congress-NCP bonhomie. 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta