With the Shiv Sena going all out against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress, which is the third largest party in Maharashtra assembly, has put the Sena under pressure by staking its claim to the Opposition post.
On Friday, Shiv Sena, which won 63 seats in the assembly polls, elected Eknath Shinde as its legislature party leader in the assembly. Shinde will be the party's Opposition leader in case the Sena does not participate in the BJP government.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray asked BJP in a press conference to stay away from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) if the former wanted a stable government in the state.
However, the Congress tried to push Sena into a final act by wishing to contest for the Opposition leader's post which comes with perks of a Cabinet minister. "We will stake our claim to the Opposition post," said state Congress president Manikrao Thakre on Sunday.
The Congress, with 42 legislators, has not yet named its group leader despite holding legislators' meeting last week. Insiders in the Congress said the party was waiting for the Sena's final call.
The NCP has 41 legislators but has declared support to Devenda Fadnavis government from outside. The Sena can easily get the Opposition leader's post by way of its strength of 63 MLAs.
If the Sena sits in the Opposition, BJP's minority government will face one of the largest oppositions and face difficulties in running the house even if the NCP plays soft.