Despite the fact that the Shiv Sena has managed to gain leads in a number of seats disproportionately lower than the number it had retained in the seat-sharing arrangement (60 out of 124) with the BJP, given that the BJP has not done too well (102 out of 150) either, the regional party believes this is the time to extract its pound of flesh. The BJP-led NDA is leading in 167 seats in the result of the Assembly election of Maharashtra. Sources in both the BJP and the Sena have confirmed that the latter has demanded the post of chief minister for their dynast Aaditya Thackeray.
Further, the Shiv Sena has asked for 50% of the ministerial posts in the Cabinet. The party has given its senior partner the BJP the option of vacating the post of chief minister after two and a half years.
This is what the Shiv Sena calls a “50-50” formula. The party has conveyed to its NDA partner that in five years of the next government, half the time should see a Sena chief minister while the BJP could lead the other half.
The Shiv Sena wants to occupy half of the ministerial posts in the Cabinet, too. However, so far there has been no response from BJP on this demand.
It would be a leap of faith for the Shiv Sena is the position they seek for Aaditya Thackeray is realised, the chances of which are slim. For the first time, someone from the Thackeray family has entered the electoral fray. As reported in a recent article on Sirf News, while the footprint of the Shiv Sena had been constantly shrinking in Maharashtra, it was equally disturbed by the fact that any leader from outside the Thackeray family that Matoshree had promoted had “betrayed” it (for example, Narayan Rane) or his performance left a lot to be desired (for example, Manohar Joshi).
Aditya Thackeray contested from Mumbai’s Worli seat. He is leading here.
The bargaining that is going on between the two allies of the NDA did not start post-poll, though. Both the parties had been posturing even pre-poll when each had declared its candidates before reaching an agreement on seat-sharing.
However, much as the opposition sees an opportunity for itself here based purely on mathematical calculations, Shiv Sena deserting the NDA would face a double whammy. “On the one hand, it is ideologically out of sync with the Congress and the NCP. On the other, neither of the UPA partners will allow the Shiv Sena to regain its foothold in Maharashtra,” said a BJP leader, adding that Sena spokespersons have already put on record that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will continue.