Even as most exit polls conducted after the October 21 Maharashtra assembly elections predicted a comfortable majority for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday said its ally BJP would not be able to form the next government without the support of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
Raut's statement comes on the eve of counting of votes for the high-stake polls.
Speaking to a regional news channel, the senior Sena leader also claimed that his party would win 100 out of the total 124 seats it had contested.
The BJP had contested 164 seats, which include candidates of smaller allies fighting on its lotus symbol, out of the total 288 seats in the state.
While most of the exit polls have predicted a clear majority for the BJP-led alliance comprising the Sena and other parties, at least one such prediction gave the BJP a near-majority on its own.
It predicted whopping 142 seats for the BJP and 102 for the Sena.
The simple majority mark in the state is 145.
"The BJP cannot form the next government without the help of the Shiv Sena, even if it wins only 4-5 seats," Raut said.
"I think the Shiv Sena will win 100 seats. But the BJP alone cannot form its government. The BJP-Sena alliance will cross 200 mark in this assembly elections," he said.
The Sena had won 62 seats in the 2014 assembly elections which it had contested without a pre-poll alliance with the BJP.
After the BJP won the maximum 122 seats, the Sena joined the government. However, the Sena, which has often considered itself as the "big brother" in state politics couldn't really adjust itself to play the second fiddle to the resurgent BJP.
Raut also admitted that the Sena and the BJP shared a "love-hate" relationship.
"The alliance will not break even after counting of votes is over. Though the BJP and the Sena contested separately in 2014 elections, now both the parties have joined hands. It is a kind of love-hate relationship," the Rajya
Sabha MP said.