Mumbai/New Delhi: After months of bitterness, the BJP has mollified its NDA partner Shiv Sena and has struck a grand saffron alliance in Maharashtra before the 2019 general elections, according to sources. Both parties will contest from an equal number of seats. The alliance may leave a small window for small partners like Ramdas Athavale’s Republican Party of India.

Last time, the BJP fought from 24 seats and Sena from 20. NDA swept the Maharashtra Lok Sabha elections 2014 getting 46 out of 48 seats.

Sources told MyNation that the BJP agreed to an equal seat-sharing arrangement because it did not want Sena to play spoilsport and sabotage its candidate. The move will also allay Sena’s grouse that the BJP treats it shabbily and plans to finish its ally in Maharashtra.

Here's Pradip Bhandari of Jan ki Baat making sense of the seat-sharing arrangement (video).

The move also sends a very positive signal to other NDA partners and potential allies. Many see the BJP as a ruthless political force out to cannibalise regional parties. Monday’s move makes it seem that the BJP cares for them.

Also, while the Mahagathbandhan struggles with its endless contradictions and is busy balancing egos, a strong alliance in Maharashtra makes a huge perception difference on the ground.

Both the parties are supposed to announce the seat-sharing deal soon. The agreement is similar to the one BJP had struck in Bihar with the JD(U), climbing down from its initial demand of more seats to an equal number of seats to be fought by the ally.