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Tuesday 28 January 2020

Athawale: Shah assured me Sena would embrace BJP again

Athawale said he had spoken to Uddhav Thackeray as well, asking him to give up the demand for the post of CM and settle for more ministers

While discussions between the NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena to form the government in Maharashtra are still on, Republican Party of India chief and Union minister Ramdas Athawale is hardly disturbed by the developments. Referring to his talks with Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah, Athawale said that it was the BJP that would soon form government in Maharashtra! Athawale said that Amit Shah had told him that “everything will be fine” in Maharashtra soon.

Talking to the media on Sunday, Athawale said, “I spoke to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the political crisis in Maharashtra and told him that if he were to intervene, some middle ground could be found in the state.”

“When I said this, Amit Shah told me, ‘You do not worry, soon everything will be fine’,” Athawale said.

The BJP and Shiv Sena will come together again to form government in Maharashtra, the Dalit leader said.

Athawale had tried to counsel Shiv Sena

On 29 October, Athawale had appealed to the Shiv Sena not to prolong their demand for the post of chief minister and to accept the post of deputy chief minister. He had appealed to Uddhav Thackeray and said, “I don’t think the Shiv Sena will get the post of chief minister. But he can take more Cabinet portfolios in the Maharashtra government and an additional ministerial post at the Centre.”

Athawale further said, “If re-election takes place in the State (in case the deadlock over the formation of government is not resolved), it will be a big loss for the BJP and Shiv Sena. BJP should consider Shiv Sena’s demand.”

The Republican Party head said that the Shiv Sena would not like to go with the Congress and NCP to form government in Maharashtra.

Has criticism deterred Shiv Sena?

When the news of Shiv Sena’s ‘agreement’ with the NCP and Congress to form the next Maharashtra government broke out, it led to all-round condemnation by the traditional voters of the party founded by Balasaheb Thackeray and other sections of what is loosely referred to as the Indian right-wing. The votaries were stunned to learn that the Sena was not only giving up its demand to confer Bharat Ratna upon Veer Sawarkar and agreeing to not celebrate the Ayodhya verdict by Supreme Court but also accepting the resumption of Muslim quota in the State.

A large faction of the Shiv Sena, sources said, thereafter got in touch with different BJP leaders, willing to defect. This was when Uddhav Thackeray accused the BJP of indulging in “horse-trading”. While pleading to return to the NDA fold would now be embarrassing for the Thackerays, they are weighing the options in the face of an impending rebellion in the rank and file of the party, sources added.

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