Mumbai: As Shiv Sena is adamant with its demand to have a chief minister from the party for 2.5 years [half of the term], the state continues to be plagued by political uncertainty. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—which emerged as the single largest party with 105 MLAs in a 288-member Assembly—has refused to give in so far.
Both the right-wing parties had fought the state elections in alliance and together—with 161 seats—had managed to cross the halfway mark to be able to form the government.
However, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut claimed that the BJP had promised Sena that it can have its chief minister for half of the term. The assurance had reportedly come from then BJP Chief Amit Shah—before Lok Sabha elections. Raut also showed a video clip of CM Devendra Fadnavis addressing press conference where the latter had said, “After winning Assembly elections, we have decided to share positions and responsibilities in equal share.”
As Sena has refused to even hold talks with BJP over formation of government, the stalemate continues even after 13 days past the result. Fadnavis reportedly met Shah on Monday and discussed the situation in state. At the same time, Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar met Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday itself in New Delhi. After this meeting, Pawar said that they will discuss the situation with the party's colleagues and will meet again.
Speaking to NewsClick on Tuesday, Raut said that all the preparation to form a government is complete from Sena's side. When asked about the required strength in terms of MLAs, he said, "That we will show on the day when we will go to the governor to form a government."
As the current Assembly lapses on November 9, BJP is expected to come up with a strong proposal for Sena before this date. “Whether to give the CM post to Sena or to sit in opposition is the question before us. We will talk to our national leadership and then accordingly take a decision,” said senior leader and core committee member of Maharashtra BJP, on a condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, last week, state Finance Minister Sudheer Mungantiwar had said that president’s rule will have to be imposed in the state if a government is not formed by November 9. His statement elicited strong reaction from political parties that called this BJP's attempt at muzzling the people's verdict. All this has led to further alienation between BJP and Sena.
Sources informed NewsClick that the opposition has made it clear to Sena leadership that their support to the party will be conditional. Shiv Sena ministers in the Modi Cabinet will have to resign and the party will have to snap ties with the BJP. As long as Sena does not comply with these conditions, NCP and Congress maintain, they will assume the role of opposition.