After more than a month of bitter squabbling, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday announced the Shiv Sena will join the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra, albeit without deputy chief minister's post and any of the key portfolios.
The partners for 25 years, who broke up just before the state assembly polls two months, were back together again citing common ideology, popular public sentiment and stable government as the primary reasons for the rapprochement.
"We were together for 25 years (before partings ways ahead of the assembly polls). The people's mandate is for us to get together for running the government. We honour the feeling of the people, workers of both Sena and BJP," said chief minister Fadnavis at a press conference addressed jointly by him and Sena leader Subhash Desai.
The names and portfolios are expected to be finalised by Thursday night. The BJP is also roping in allies who may be part of the oath ceremony on Friday or the expansion to be held in January.
Twelve ministers from the Sena, five of cabinet rank and seven ministers of state, will be inducted. 10 of them will be sworn in on Friday, along with 8-10 from the BJP.
"The number may increase or decrease. We also want small allies to get ministries," Fadnavis said.
Sena's Subhash Desai, who lead party's delegation at the press conference, said, "The BJP and Sena are again in power after 15 years. We will give a strong government."
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party will not get the deputy chief minister's post which it had been bargaining for all the while.
The two parties will form a coordination committee to work out modalities for alliance in the muncipality and panchayat levels.
The BJP managed to get the Sena on board and still kept its firm grip on the government. The Sena not only is seen content with politically less important portfolios, but also maintained silence over the issues such as separate Vidarbha statehood and the scrapping of the Jaitapur nuclear power plant, on which both the parties have contradictory views.
The first indications of a breakthrough came earlier this week when Fadnavis said that 80% of the alliance talks were completed and only a few things remained to be a sorted out.
The BJP and the Sena were allies for 25 years, but had parted ways over seat sharing ahead of the assembly polls held in October. The two were in power between 1995 and 1999. Then, the Sena had the CM with the BJP playing the junior partner.
Now the BJP is in dominant position with 121 MLAs and the Sena has just 63.
When the BJP emerged the single largest party but landed short of a majority, the Sena announced it will sit in the opposition.
The Sena also voted against BJP in the confidence motion, and when the Speaker declared that Fadnavis had won, joined the Congress in protest.
The induction of Sena will give the government a clear majority of 184 in a House of 288. The BJP has 121 MLAs while the Shiv Sena 63. The NCP, which has 41 MLAs, had announced outside support to the state government, which was sworn in on October 31.