Though the Shiv Sena and the NCP have opted out of their coalitions with the BJP and the Congress respectively, the doors for a post-poll tie-up are still open.
Aware that it cannot reach the magic figure of 145 in the Maharashtra Assembly, the BJP has already declared that it would not criticise Shiv Sena during the poll campaign.
It is learnt that Shiv Sena’s representative in the Modi Cabinet, Anant Geete, could continue to remain in his post. Sources said that he has been asked by the Sena leadership not to put in his papers unless indicated to do so by the BJP leadership.
“We were voted to the Centre as the National Democratic Alliance. The alliance will remain at the Centre. There is no question of resigning,” Geete had said.
Reports had it that internal surveys by the BJP showed the party getting no more than 100 seats in the 288-member Assembly. The BJP leaders are aware that they would require the support of like-minded parties to form the government in the state.
The Nationalist Congress Party also appears to have extended the olive branch to the Congress by not fielding a candidate against Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who is contesting his maiden Assembly election from Karad South constituency.
Ironically, Chavan was under attack from the NCP ever since he took over as chief minister in November 2010.
Chavan, who is a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council, has forced out seven-term Congress MLA Vilasrao Patil Undalkar. An arch-rival of Chavan, Undalkar had announced that he would contest as an Independent against the chief minister.