Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party should offer the chief minister’s post to its alliance partners in the states if it wants the tie-ups to continue for the Lok Sabha elections. The Shiv Sena, which is in an alliance with the BJP in Maharashtra, had earlier ruled out joining the saffron party for the General Elections.

“All the allies of the National Democratic Alliance are strong in their states and if you want to have an alliance with them at the Centre, the chief minister in that state should be from that ally,” Raut said according to the Hindustan Times, making the pitch for a chief minister from the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.

“If an NDA government is formed in 2019, Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, and other major allies will have a role,” he said according to ANI.

An unidentified Shiv Sena leader told the Hindustan Times that BJP National President Amit Shah and party chief Uddhav Thackeray are in talks to forge an alliance. “Ours is a one-line proposal to them,” he said. “They can play a larger role in Delhi, while we will have a bigger say in the state.” He claimed that Shah is likely to visit Thackeray at his residence in Mumbai soon.

Fadnavis meets Uddhav Thackeray

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met Thackeray at Matoshree, Thackeray’s residence, The Indian Express reported. Fadnavis later told media persons that the meeting was “very positive”.

“We held discussions on various issues, including pre-poll alliance,” he said. “At this moment, I can only say the meeting was very positive.” The chief minister visited Thackeray after Shiv Sena leader and state minister Subash Desai met him on Thursday morning.

Fadnavis added that Thackeray talked about problems faced by farmers, among other things. “BJP also shares the same concerns on all issues related to farmers or cross-border terrorism,” he claimed. “There cannot be two views on such issues.”

The BJP is willing to offer the Shiv Sena 22 out of 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, The Indian Express reported citing sources. It is also ready to set aside 145 out of the 288 Assembly seats in the state. Lok Sabha polls are likely to be held in April and May, while Assembly elections are due in Maharashtra towards the end of the year.

The BJP contends that the chief minister’s post should go to the party that wins more seats. However, it is willing to share the post for 2.5 years, the daily reported citing sources.