The rift between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena had begun in February, when the two sides announced a tie-up for the Lok Sabha polls.
The Sena realised it was time to raise the issue of joint chief ministership, or two CMs from the two parties having a two-and-a-half year tenure each, as a condition for an alliance for the national elections, according to the BJP leader who did not want to be named.
Sena had been with the BJP for over three decades and was considered its oldest ally, struck discordant notes even before the national elections over power-sharing in Maharashtra, and the ties between the two sides could have snapped if last-minute firefighting efforts were not initiated. The top leadership of the two sides helped overcome the differences at that time, according to a senior BJP functionary.
On February 18, Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray and BJP Chief Amit Shah hammered out a deal in view of the national as well as state elections in October.
Later, as the ties between the two sides worsened over power-sharing after the October 24 results, the Sena would say the BJP leadership had agreed to rotational chief ministership. The BJP would deny making any such commitment. According to the Sena, Thackeray raised the issue at the meeting with Shah.
The Lok Sabha polls went well for the alliance, with the Sena winning 18 and the BJP 23 of the state’s 48 seats.
In the assembly elections, the BJP won 105 and the Sena 56 of the state’s 288 seats; their combined tally was away above the halfway mark of 145.