Shiv Sena hardened its position on Sunday in the deadlock with ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over government formation in Maharashtra. The regional party said its chief Uddhav Thackeray will decide on the next chief minister of Maharashtra and with Nationalist Congress party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar will play an “important role”.
In his editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that “Maharashtra will decide its CM and Delhi shouldn’t intervene”.
BJP and Sena have been bickering over the last two weeks over a power-sharing formula that involves sharing the chief minister’s post.
Raut also took a swipe at caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. He said Fadnavis hasn’t been able to occupy the top post in the state even after Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that Fadnavis will be CM again.
“Fadnavis’s biggest failure is that Sena is not ready to talk with him. This means that Uddhav Thackeray will decide who will become the next Chief Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar will play an important role in this process,” said the editorial.
Sena’s remarks come a day after Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari asked BJP to “indicate willingness and ability” to form the government.
BJP is the single-largest party after last month’s assembly elections. The BJP has 105 MLAs and the support of 15 independent legislators, but it needs another 25 seats to reach the majority mark in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly. Shiv Sena, BJP’s pre-poll ally, won 56 seats. Congress won 44 seats, while NCP got 54 seats.
The BJP’s core committee will meet Sunday to decide the future course of action after the governor’s invitation. “After the core committee meeting, we will also consult our national leaders,” BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said Saturday.
Sunday’s editorial in Saamana accused BJP of ruling in the last five years by “terrorising” opponents and said now they are “gripped by fear”.
Raut compared the previous Fadnavis government to the Roman empire where rulers forget their allies who helped them to ascend to power and wanted to finish all critics. “There is overall consensus in Maharashtra that there should not be a Chief Minister from BJP,” he said.
Fadnavis had resigned as chief minister on Friday. Fadnavis and Thackeray held separate news briefings soon after and attacked each other over the power-sharing formula between the two allies.