Polls🗳 Ahead, Devendra Fadnavis Cuts🚫 Short Vidarbha Tour to Placate Shiv Sena

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In a politically significant gesture, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis cut short his tour of Washim in Vidarbha to visit Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at his residence - Matoshree - on Thursday evening.

The BJP has extended an olive branch to its sulking ally in the light of the Opposition cobbling up alliances to turn the tables on the ruling party in the Lok Sabha polls. The meeting was also attended by Chandrakant Patil, senior BJP leader, and Subhash Desai, Shiv Sena legislator and State Industries Minister.

Negotiations on seat sharing are still going on, although sources have told NDTV that a 23:25 formula is the only way for the alliance to move forward into the Lok Sabha elections. The Shiv Sena wants 23 of the 48 seats in Maharashtra - leaving 25 for the BJP - as its condition for joining hands ahead of the upcoming election.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party is also demanding a "respectable" seat-sharing deal for the assembly polls later this year and wants to finalise that along with the Lok Sabha arrangement. Negotiations are becoming particularly hard in view of the Shiv Sena wanting to increase its clout in the state at a time when the BJP has emerged as its single-largest party.

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