Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has made it clear the BJP is not yielding to all the demands of the NDA ally Shiv Sena. He did not sound rude, though. During an event, he said, “We are the largest party in the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition in Maharashtra. We alone can give a stable government to the state for five years.”
Since the results of the Assembly elections came out, the scene of government formation in Maharashtra has been far more complicated than the one in Haryana. The terms of the Shiv Sena put forth for their support to the next government, one thought, had stunned the BJP, as no leader from the larger party in the alliance was ready to go on record, making a statement accepting Shiv Sena’s demands or rejecting them. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray repeatedly reminded the BJP they had a “50-50” deal, which, according to him, implied a chief minister from each party for two-and-a-half years and equal representation of his party in the Cabinet, Sena’s modest show at the hustings notwithstanding.
With the statement Fadnavis made, it’s a stalemate. The BJP has called a meeting of its MLAs on 30 October. Only after that meeting, a clearer picture would emerge, as newly-elected MLAs of Shiv Sena as well as its workers and supporters continue to demand the post of chief minister for Aaditya Thackeray. More importantly, Uddhav Thackeray has asked the BJP to put it in writing his son would be allowed to ‘ascend the throne’.
The BJP has 105 MLAs in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and the Shiv Sena has 57 MLAs. Among the parties being looked at as of now as the opposition, the NCP has 54 and Congress has 44 MLAs. In this situation, it is possible that the Congress and NCP consider the option of going with the Shiv Sena to stop the BJP. The majority figure in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly is 144, which these three parties together can achieve.
However, it’s not just Fadnavis. While no BJP leader is speaking on the record, they are gradually growing a distaste and impatience for the noisy ally, as reported in the previous story on Maharashtra on Sirf News.
The BJP has, in fact, begun looking for ways to rob the Shiv Sena of its bargaining power. On Sunday, it boasted of the support of three independent MLAs. Rebels Geeta Jain and Rajendra Raut announced their support for the BJP after meeting the chief minister at his residence. Ravi Rana, also an independent MLA, has written a letter extending his support to a BJP-led government.