The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has emerged as the main opposition party after 18 years after winning two seats more than its ally of 20 years, the Shiv Sena.
But the Sena is not ready to let go of the post of Leader of Opposition in the Assembly easily. The two parties are yet to reach consensus over the post, which usually goes to the main opposition party.
The BJP won 46 seats in the state and the Sena, 44.
BJP sources said that it had finalised the name of senior legislator Eknath Khadse for the post, which is also regarded as a shadow chief minister in political circles.
Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut, however, said his party wanted the post. Though the Sena has lesser Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) than the BJP, three of its rebels have won as independents and are likely to stay with the party.
The post was occupied by Sena leader Ramdas Kadam in the outgoing Assembly. Kadam lost his seat in Guhagar in Ratnagiri.
This is not the first time that the saffron allies are fighting over the post of Leader of Opposition.
It is a repeat of what happened after the 1990 elections. The Sena won 52 seats then while the BJP won 42 but in 1991 Sena leader Chhagan Bhujbal defected to the Congress with 13 MLAs.
The BJP then became the main opposition party in the Assembly and claimed the Opposition Leader’s post.