Trouble seems to be brewing between the Shiv Sena and the BJP again, with the former saying it will not be part of the state government unless a few of its ministers are sworn in before Sunday.
“If Uddhavji was graceful enough to attend the swearing-in ceremony, then the BJP needs to take a step ahead too,” said a senior Sena leader. The party has decided to hold a meeting at the Thackeray residence on Sunday evening, to take a final decision.
However, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis reiterated on Wednesday that the cabinet would be expanded only after the trust vote next week. This means no Sena legislator will be sworn in before the end of the special Assembly session on November 12.
Although Fadnavis did not specify when the expansion would take place, he clarified that no state-level BJP leaders were discussing power-sharing with the Sena. “Leaders in New Delhi are negotiating with them,” he said.
But, Sena MP Anil Desai dismissed Fadnavis’ claims. “I am here in Mumbai, but no one has spoken to me so far,” he told HT.
The Sena has demanded onethird of ministerial berths, along with the deputy chief minister’s post.
If the Sena decides to join the government, its 63 MLAs will add to the ruling party’s 121, to form a majority government. But the BJP also has the Nationalist Congress Party’s offer, to extend outside support to it, which is yet to decide on.
Meanwhile, an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana took potshots at Fadnavis over the Vidarbha issue, stating that the CM should concentrate on developing the region, instead of giving it statehood. “The BJP won hands down in Vidarbha. But, the party should not think the mandate was given to divide Maharashtra. Separating Vidarbha from Maharashtra is like separating a child from its mother,” the editorial said.
“On his first visit to Nagpur after becoming the CM, Fadnavis said Vidarbha will be carved out at the right time. Instead, he should have spoken about its development. He should have spoken about empowering security agencies in Naxal-hit areas such as Gadchiroli and Chandrapur,” the editorial said.