Shiv Sena wants equal power-sharing promise in writing from BJPUpdated: Oct 27, 2019, 00:36 IST
The Shiv Sena continued to play hardball with ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday over their power-sharing deal to form the next government in Maharashtra. The party demanded a written assurance from the BJP leadership that the allies will share power equally, including holding the chief minister’s post for two-and-a-half years each.
The BJP, which won 105 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, is 40 short of a clear majority. But the saffron allies together have strength of 161 seats, which include Sena’s tally of 56.
Sena’s demand from the BJP came after the party’s newly elected Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) met their chief Uddhav Thackeray at his Bandra residence, Matoshree, on Saturday.
Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, who won from Ovala-Majiwada in Thane, said the government formation process will not start unless the BJP gave a written assurance to share the CM’s post equally. “Uddhavji has said that his discussion with Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis was about equal power sharing, and sharing the chief minister’s post for two-and-a-half years. Further decision will be taken after the BJP gives us in writing about the power-sharing formula,” said Sarnaik, after attending the meeting.
The MLAs also backed Aaditya Thackeray, who won from the Worli constituency, to become the chief minister in the next government. Aaditya, Uddhav’s elder son, is the first member of the Thackeray family to contest polls.
“We want to see Aaditya Thackeray as the next chief minister. But Uddhavji will take the final decision,” said Sarnaik.
Sena’s Guhagar MLA Bhaskar Jadhav said while they want sharing of the chief minister’s post, the decision on party’s candidate for the top position has not been decided yet. “All MLAs have passed a resolution and given the power to Uddhavji to decide the future course of action in the alliance and government formation,” said Jadhav.
The BJP, meanwhile, said discussions on government formations and working out other modalities will happen next week, after Diwali. “Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, our national president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will discuss these issues and find an appropriate solution to them,” said Keshav Upadhye, BJP spokesperson.
Multiple Sena MLAs, who did not want to be named, said they have demanded a written assurance from their ally as the formula decided by Shah and Thackeray before the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year was not honoured by the BJP.
“They contested on the larger chunk (164) of 288 seats in the Assembly polls, leaving us [Sena] with just 124 seats,” said one of the MLAs. “We should have something in hand to trust them now. They betrayed us on equal sharing of seats. Shiv Sena is not demanding anything more that what was decided by the two party chiefs.”
Political analysts said the opportunity before Sena to get a good bargain has come at a good time, when Aaditya has been elected. “There will be a hard bargain from the Sena side. They have sought a written assurance and that shows that they feel cheated. Sena doesn’t want to just be a partner in a BJP-led government, but want equal political and administrative powers,” said Surendra Jondhale, a political analyst.
Prakash Bal, another Mumbai-based political analyst, said, “The Sena will squeeze the BJP to get more, but it will have to be seen how much they [BJP] will give in. Sena’s seats have been reduced too. So it has to be seen how much they can push.”