After dilly-dallying on the issue, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray announced that party leader and Union minister Anant Geete, who looks after the heavy industries portfolio, will resign from the post.
“After PM Narendra Modi comes back from the US, our minister Geete will be putting in his resignation,” said Uddhav while talking to the media on Monday.
He, however, avoided commenting on whether the two parties will split their partnership in about 12 municipal corporations like Mumbai, Thane, which they run together. “All those decisions are being discussed,” he said.
This comes a day after cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray taunted Uddhav for not letting go of the Central ministry despite splitting with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Raj had said that is he were Uddhav, he would have split with the BJP a month ago, and given away power in all civic bodies, including the ministry at the Centre.
A senior Sena leader said Geete’s resignation means the Sena, which has 18 MPs, is withdrawing its support to the BJP government.
However, as the BJP is in a majority in the Centre, the Sena’s decision will not affect the government. However, all eyes are on what PM Modi will do after Geete gives his resignation, he said.
Last week, after they were unable to come to a decision during the seat-sharing talks, the BJP announced its decision to split with the Sena and go solo during the Assembly polls.
This snowballed into a split between the Congress-NCP, which means the state will witness a five-cornered contest.
Following this, there has been speculation on how the Sena will handle the alliance at the Centre and smaller corporations.
Now, the ball is in the BJP’s court. If it does break its alliance even at the Centre, then it will be viewed as a party that uses its partners and then hogs all political space.
In Goa, the Maharashtravadi Gomanatak Party lost its entire political space after forging an alliance with the BJP.
Another rumour doing the round is that the Thackeray cousins may come together to help each other in smaller civic bodies in case the BJP backs out.
For instance, in Mumbai corporation, the Sena has 75 seats and can replace the BJP, which has 31 corporators, with the MNS (28 corporators) to keep power. But for now, with Raj’s direct attacks on Uddhav, it seems the two are still fighting to reclaim their space and are not too keen on helping each other.