After not hearing from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for two days after the Assembly election results were declared, an impatient Shiv Sena has gone into damage control mode.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray sent two of his emissaries, MP Anil Desai and leader Subhash Desai, to Delhi for a meeting with newly appointed Maharashtra state in-charge JP Nadda on Tuesday.
Sena sources said the two will convey to Nadda that the Sena is willing to offer unconditional support to the BJP. There is a possibility that Uddhav will meet PM Narendra Modi in the next two-three days, depending on the outcome of the discussion on Tuesday. It seems Uddhav is now ready to set aside his ego to find a solution to the self-created impasse.
The Sena has not sent a formal proposal offering support to the BJP yet. In fact, the statements from the Sena camp indicated they would wait for the BJP to come up with a proposal if it needed their support in the government.
The BJP bagged 122 seats, making it the single-largest party, but is 22 seats short of the halfway mark. The Sena has 63 seats in its kitty. While the Sena expected the BJP to seek its support, the NCP jumped in to announce unconditional outside support to the BJP.
Modi’s party is also not happy with Uddhav’s attitude after the their alliance split. He made statements where he criticised Modi and called the BJP a backstabber in all his campaigns.
What put the Sena in fast-forward mode on Tuesday was senior BJP leader Om Mathur stating they were ready to form a government on their own, with the help of Independents. He also said parties interested in backing them should meet Union minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh, who will be in the city on Monday.
Following Mathur’s statement, senior Sena leader Diwakar Raote said the Sena will meet Singh. “We are clear we will not interfere in the process of appointing the chief minister. Like-minded parties that believe in the concept of Hindutva should come together,” he said.
The Sena also denied having put forth any conditions to the BJP. “We have not sent a proposal to the BJP. The only condition is Maharashtra should be kept united and we will support a progressive government,” Desai said.
For now, the Sena has taken the first step to extending support. The ball is now in the BJP’s court.