With the Shiv Sena going all out against the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress, which is the third largest party in the assembly, put the Sena under pressure by staking its claim to the opposition post.
On Friday, the Sena (63 MLAs) elected its group leader, Eknath Shinde, who will be their opposition leader in case they don’t participate in the BJP government. The Sena asked BJP to stay away from the Nationalist Congress Party it wanted a stable government in association with its ex-ally.
However, the Congress tried to propel the Sena into final act by wishing to contest the opposition leader’s post which comes with perks of 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. Congress insiders 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 prime post by way of its strength of 63. In fact, if the Sena sits in opposition, BJP’s minority government will face one of the largest oppositions and face difficulties in running the house even when the NCP plays soft.