Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut meets Sharad Pawar
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday met NCP chief Sharad Pawar, triggering speculation about the possible formation of an alternative government in Maharashtra at a time the Sena and the BJP are locked in a tussle over power sharing.
Raut had met Pawar on the day of results on October 21 as well, but had maintained that it was a private meeting.
Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has claimed that according to a formula agreed upon by his party and the BJP before the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year, the two allies would share the chief minister’s post on a rotational basis.
Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said on Thursday: “The Shiv Sena will have to take some steps if the BJP, being the single-largest party, fails to form the government. In case the Shiv Sena proposes something, we will convey the same to our central leadership.”
The Sena once again said it had not given up its claim on the Maharashtra chief minister’s post, saying equal sharing of power must mean sharing of the top post too.
With the impasse over the power-sharing formula continuing even a week after the Assembly election results were announced, the Sena accused the BJP of beginning the “second act” of the “use-and-throw” policy while dealing with its ally.
Whatever was decided when the two parties stitched up the alliance before the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year should be implemented, Sena mouthpiece Saamana said in an editorial.
Raut tweeted: “The (reports that) Sena has softened (its stand), has compromised and relinquished equitable distribution of posts, are all rumours….”
Outgoing minister Eknath Shinde was on Thursday elected the Sena’s leader in the state legislature. His candidature was proposed by party scion Aaditya Thackeray, whose name was also doing the rounds for the post.
Asked about the delay in government formation in Maharashtra, Aaditya said: “I can’t comment on government formation. Uddhav saheb will have the final word.”
On Thursday evening, staff of the Sena-controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation removed hoardings outside Matoshree, the Thackeray family residence, that read: “Only Aaditya Thackeray as CM of Maharashtra”.
The BJP won 105 of the 288 seats in the Assembly, the Sena bagged 56, the NCP 54 and the Congress 44.