After being voted to the second position in Maharashtra with 63 seats, things can go either way for the Shiv Sena — it may end up getting the deputy chief minister’s post by becoming a part of the government, or it may have to sit as leader of opposition across the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Hoping that the BJP will come to them, Sena leaders are preparing a wish-list where they will ask for one-third ministerial positions, the deputy chief minister’s post and a promise that the state will not be split, a source said.
But this might be of no use if the BJP and allies, which have 123 seats, are able to get independents to join them and accept the Nationalist Congres Party’s outside support. Also, the BJP may not budge on the issue of formation of a separate Vidarbha.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray wore an anxious look on Monday as he addressed the Sena winners. According to senior Sena legislators, Uddhav told them that he had extended a hand to the BJP and was now waiting for them to respond.
On Sunday, Uddhav had called PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah and expressed his support to them in forming the government.
However, the Sena chief has also warned his men to be ready to sit in the opposition alongside the Congress. “There is a consensus in the party that if we want to be part of the government then we should get a fair share. But if that doesn’t happen, then the situation will turn. The BJP will challenge us in the BMC. We will have to prepare for civic elections within six months,” a senior Sena legislator said.
By siting in the opposition, the Sena may lose its lone Union ministerial berth, which will have further repercussions for the party in 12 municipal bodies including Mumbai and Thane where it aligns with the BJP.
“Amit Shah once said that it is the Sena, not the Congress, which is the opposition in this election. Sena needs to realise that it is going to face a crisis soon. The BJP will pose a stiff challenge in the next three years and capture all the civic bodies the two parties govern. Sena needs to talk more about development and economics if it wants to win over the new electorate,” said political analyst Prakash Bal.
Sena MP Anil Desai said they were waiting to get a clear picture. “There are no conditions that we have put together. We will first see what they [the BJP] have to offer. Things are moving positively,” he said.