The deal's done but they are still squabbling. The Shiv Sena wants all its nominees - five Cabinet and seven ministers of state - to take the oath of office on Friday, but the BJP wants it to wait.
The BJP wants only three Cabinet and four ministers of state from the Sena to be sworn in in the first round along with seven or eight of its nominees and one of its ally, the RPI.
Details of the ranks of ministers chosen for the oath-taking ceremony have not yet been decided. On Wednesday, Sena leaders Subhash Desai and Anil Desai met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to sort out some last-minute issues.
Anil Desai said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will make a final announcement on Thursday.
As HT has been reporting, the BJP has retained the deputy chief minister's post and key departments, such as home and urban development. The Sena, which will get industry, public health, environment, transport/excise and state road development corporation (MSRDC), has not ceased efforts to also get the public works department.
While the Sena will be a part of the cabinet expansion, party leaders said they were still negotiating the number of ministers who will be sworn-in.
Both parties have agreed the Sena will get five cabinet ministers and seven MoS, but they differ on when. The BJP wants only three cabinet and four MoS-rank ministers to take oath on Friday, and says the rest can be accommodated in the next expansion. The BJP has also not accepted the Sena's demand for two additional ministerial berths at the Centre.
As it stands, the BJP may have seven to eight ministers, its ally, the RPI, will get one minister if it agrees to join. The swearing-in ceremony will begin at 4pm on Friday.
The Sena joining the government comes as a huge relief for the BJP: With a total strength of 199 (BJP's 122, Sena's 63 and others, 14), the BJP government cannot be destabilised.
Sources said Thackeray will hold a meeting of all probable ministers on Thursday, a day before the swearing-in. Thackeray will also discuss portfolio allotments for his ministers.
"The final announcement is expected to be made tomorrow (Thursday) by Uddhavji, where he will give the Sena's final stand," Anil Desai told the media at Sahyadri guest house.
"Uddhavji will be in a fix over choosing who will be part of the ministry and also who will be sworn-in in the first phase of expansion, as there is pressure from legislators of different regions, who have proved themselves," a Sena leader said.
The BJP camp too has been witnessing intense lobbying for the minister's job. Fadnavis has told the MLAs the party high command will decide the final list. A host of legislators including Girish Bapat (Pune), Girish Mahajan (Jamner), Ram Shinde (Ahmednagar), Jaykumar Rawal (Sindkheda), Chandrashekhar Bawankule (Kamptee), Madan Yerawar (Yavatmal), Chainsukh Sancheti (Malkapur), Sanjay Kute (Jalgaon Jamod), Pandurang Phundkar (Buldhana, MLC), Sambhaji Nilangekar (Nilanga), Babanrao Lonikar (Partur), Ashish Shelar, Mangal Prabhat Lodha and Raj Purohit (all Mumbai), Sanjay Kelkar (Thane), Manda Mhatre (Navi Mumbai) and Sanjay Bhegde (Maval) are among the aspirants.