THE Shiv Sena on Saturday demanded a written assurance from ally BJP that it will implement the formula for equal sharing of power in Maharashtra, while Opposition Congress said the Uddhav Thackeray-led party should explore “alternative arrangement”. Newly-elected MLAs of the Sena, who met party chief Uddhav Thackeray at his residence here, demanded that his son and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya be made Chief Minister. Uddhav Thackeray said at the meeting that he had “other options open” but was not interested in exploring them as the BJP and Sena were bound by “Hindutva ideology”, a Sena MLA told PTI.
The MLAs met Thackeray two days after the party won 56 seats, seven less than in 2014, in the Maharashtra elections. The Sena has more leverage now as the BJP, whose tally came down from 122 in 2014 to 105, needs it more to reach the halfway mark of 144. “Shiv Sena contested less number of seats in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. Uddhav Thackeray has said the BJP should give a written assurance about implementing the power-sharing formula arrived at in the presence of (BJP chief ) Amit Shah and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis about equal sharing of seats and power,” Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik told PTI after Saturday’s meeting. Discussions on formation of Government can take place after the BJP gives the assurance, Sarnaik added.
“The Sena chief told us that he had other options open but he was not interested. He told us that the BJP and Sena are bound together by Hindutva ideology,” the MLA added. Elsewhere, NCP chief Sharad Pawar ruled out his party supporting the Sena to keep the BJP away from power. “This is not an option before us. People have asked us to sit in opposition. We have accepted that mandate,” Pawar said after state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat met him at his residence at Baramati in Pune district. Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar, who was the Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly, however, said to stop the BJP other parties should come together.
“The mandate for the Congress is to perform the role of Opposition. But to stop the BJP, we need to come together. Shiv Sena has to come forward. The Sena should come forward for an alternative arrangement as the popular mandate was against the BJP,” he said. Earlier, Congress leaders Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan had said the party should consider all options to keep the BJP out of power. The NCP and Congress have won 54 and 44 seats, respectively, in the 288-member House. There are voices within the Sena demanding that Aaditya Thackeray, 29, should become Chief Minister.
Aaditya is the first member of his family to contest and win an election. He won from Worli in Mumbai. On the day of verdict, Uddhav had reminded the BJP of fifty-fifty formula for power sharing which he said was agreed upon by Shah and Fadnavis ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. According to sources, the formula contemplates the post of CM rotating between the two parties. On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah always projected Fadnavis as the face of the ruling alliance during the poll campaign.