The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday appeared set to form the government in Maharashtra with the only question mark on who would be its partner in power in the country's financial capital.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) sprang a surprise by offering outside support to a saffron government, leaving the Shiv Sena cornered in terms of bargaining space with the BJP, which fell short of the majority mark by about 20-odd seats.
The BJP, which won over 120 seats, now has the option to reunite with Sena that won 62 seats or accept support of Sharad Pawar-led NCP that won 41 seats.
The twenty-five-year old alliance between the BJP and the Sena had fallen apart ahead of the polls over seat-sharing.
While BJP sources maintained that it would like to renew its alliance with its erstwhile ally, the party was not inclined to cede too many demands.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday evening that he was yet to get any proposal from the BJP for support.
"What if I approach them and they say no and tell me we already have NCP's support," Thackeray told newsmen in Mumbai.
"So far there is no proposal of any kind from BJP and we will not go to anybody with any proposal. If they make any proposal, we shall consider it," he declared on its erstwhile 25-year old ally.
There were some reports that Uddhav, who parted company with BJP before elections, congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah on their party's success.
BJP chief Amit Shah said the result were a befitting reply to those who claimed that Modi wave had waned in last four months.
"(The) results have proved that people who elected Modi as the Prime Minister have accepted him as the undisputed leader of the country," Shah told reporters.
The BJP parliamentary board met on Sunday evening to discuss its strategy vis-à-vis Shiv Sena.
Shah said the BJP was clear about forming government in Maharashtra and Haryana and also that the two states will have a BJP chief minister. This was seen as a clear message to the Sena that CM's post was non-negotiable.
Away from the glare of the spotlight, the Congress found itself with its worst-ever tally in Maharashtra: just 42 seats, down from 82 it won in 2009.
After half of the Congress' cabinet bit the dust, state president Manikrao Thakre tendered his resignation owning responsibility of the defeat.
"We are ready to sit in the opposition. We will not make any compromise on our ideology," said Thakre.
The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) -- with just one seat -- was left in tatters and, worse still, facing the danger of becoming politically irrelevant.
(With agency inputs)