If the tussle between the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the sharing of the Maharashtra chief minister’s post is not resolved soon, the Shiv Sena may soon come out of the alliance, sources in the smaller party said today. It is Shiv Sena’s gambit to be in the driving seat in the next government of Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, an important meeting of party leaders under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray was held at the Sena Bhavan on Friday. Before this meeting, Shiv Sena leader Gulabrao Patil had said that the chief minister had to be from his party. “We are waiting for Uddhav Thackeray’s orders. We will stay in the hotel till we are told to emerge,” Patil had said.
BJP accused of trying ‘horse-trading’; Sena, INC MLAs ‘resort’ to south India-style politics
The Shiv Sena believes the BJP is trying to impose President’s rule in the State. At a press conference earlier today, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had said that the party’s fight would continue. All Shiv Sena MLAs were still in a hotel until then, reminiscent of south Indian politics.
Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray had reached the Rang Sharda Hotel in Mumbai late Thursday night where his party MLAs are lodged in the fear of efforts of ‘horse-trading’ by the BJP. Shiv Sena MLAs will stay in this hotel for the next two days. The term of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly is ending tomorrow, 9 November. After this, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari will have to invoke constitutional provisions.
Congress MLA Nitin Raut said in a special conversation with a television channel that the BJP had approached MLAs of his party with an offer of money. According to sources, Congress MLA Nana Patole has left for Delhi. There is a meeting of some Maharashtra MLAs in Delhi, after which Patole will leave for Jaipur.
Congress has accused BJP of offering Rs 25 crore to break the opposition party. The Congress has sent its MLAs from Mumbai to Jaipur where all Congress MLAs have been accommodated in a resort.
CM will be from BJP: Gadkari
Amid this tussle, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said he was ready for mediation if needed but added that there was never an agreement with the Shiv Sena about the sharing of the Chief Minister’s post. “There was no promise for the post of chief minister for two and a half years. The post will remain with the BJP,” Gadkari said.
Gadkari said that a government will be formed in Maharashtra under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis. “We fought elections in alliance with Shiv Sena and we will form the government,” he said. The Union minister said that at the time of Balasaheb Thackeray, there was once a tussle over the post when the two parties decided that the party that would have the most MLAs would get the post.
On the allegation of buying out MLAs, Gadkari said that the charge was baseless. “We are never in favour of horse-trading. We are ready, Shiv Sena should think positively. The decision should be taken in the interest of the people of Maharashtra,” he said.
Gadkari said that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat had no role in forming the government.
But Fadnavis had to resign today
While Gadkari is ready to negotiate anything but power-sharing with the Shiv Sena, Raut has clearly said that only if the BJP was ready to give the post of chief minister would the meeting make any sense.
Now, while Gadkari says that Fadnavis will remain the chief minister, the latter met with the governor at Raj Bhavan and resigned in view of the end of his previous tenure.
Accusing the Shiv Sena, Fandanavis said that its leaders had attacked the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Even opposition parties did not say such things about the prime minister,” Fadnavis said, adding, “It is wrong to make such statements about the prime minister. We are all hurt by the statements. If someone wishes to talk to us while making such statements, I feel such an alliance cannot happen. This cannot be tolerated. We condemn it.”
Fadnavis said, “I had called Uddhav to talk on many issues. But he did not receive my call.”
Reiterating that the equal share agreement was about seat-sharing and not power-sharing, Fadnavis said, “There was never a decision on the formula of 50-50 between the BJP and Shiv Sena for the chief minister’s post. I asked party president Amit Shah ji and Nitin Gadkari ji about this, but they too denied any decision on the 50-50 formula on the chief minister’s post.”
Fadnavis said, “We had got a big mandate in Maharashtra during the Lok Sabha election. We faced the election for the Assembly as an ally. The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance got a clear mandate. We were able to win more than 160 seats in the Assembly election whereas BJP emerged as the largest party in the state with 105 seats.”
Fadnavis echoed the words of Gadkari saying that no promise was made for the post of chief minister from either party for two-and-a-half years each. “Never before has there been a discussion about the post of CM for two-and-a-half years. Uddhav Thackeray talked about forming a government. The alliance has the mandate.”