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Wednesday 8 April 2020

Can Gadkari end BJP-Shiv Sena standoff?

Shiv Sena's Kishore Tiwari has written to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, seeking Union minister Nitin Gadkari's mediation between them and the BJP

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Shiv Sena politician Kishore Tiwari has written a letter to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat amidst delays in forming the government due to the BJP-Shiv Sena face-off over power distribution in Maharashtra. He has suggested sending Nitin Gadkari for mediation between the two allies not on the best of terms since the election result was declared on 24 October.

On the formation of government in Maharashtra, Kishore Tiwari said that he had written a letter to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to initiate a conversation. “In the letter, I have requested Nitin Gadkari’s intervention to start the conversation. Nitin Gadkari will settle the matter in two hours,” Tiwari said.

The BJP won 105 seats while the Shiv Sena won 56 seats in the Assembly election held last month.

Despite the meetings of big leaders from Mumbai and Delhi, there is still some suspense over the formation of government in Maharashtra. Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut said on Tuesday that the next chief minister of the state would be from his party. Raut said that the politics of Maharashtra was changing and his party would win in the fight for justice. He told reporters in Mumbai that the decision about Maharashtra will be taken in Maharashtra and that the chief minister would be from the Shiv Sena.

Elsewhere, a politician from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has spoken to a television news channel under the condition of anonymity to say that his party was willing to support a Shiv Sena government where not only the chief minister but also one of the two deputy chief ministers that such an arrangement would have, would be from Uddhav Thackeray’s party. The NCP had 54 seats in the new Assembly.

However, the NCP politician added in the interview that for such a coalition to take shape, the Shiv Sena must first snap its ties with the BJP which, according to him, is ideologically unacceptable.

At the same time, sources in the Congress with 44 seats say that it is ready to extend support to a Shiv Sena-NCP government from the outside. But, while the three parties comfortably cross the majority mark of 144 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly, the letter from Tiwari to Bhagwat suggests snapping their links with the BJP is not in the minds of the Shiv Sena leadership.

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