MUMBAI — The Shiv Sena on Friday remained firm on its demand for sharing the chief minister’s post in Maharashtra and asked the BJP not to misuse the provision of “caretaker” government to remain in power in the state.
Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the BJP should approach the Uddhav Thackeray-led party only if it agrees to share the chief minister’s post with the junior saffron ally.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should resign as the term of the existing assembly is ending on 9 November, the Sena spokesman said.
“The BJP shouldn’t prolong the caretaker provision and act from behind the curtains. We won’t mind if the BJP, as the single largest party, stakes claim and forms the government,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.
The Sena, insisting on equal distribution of portfolios and sharing the chief minister’s post with the BJP for 2.5 years each, will “soon” meet Governor BS Koshyari, said Raut, the executive editor of party mouthpiece Saamana.
After the term of an assembly ends, the governor becomes the guardian of the state, Raut said.
To a question on Union minister and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari’s trip to Mumbai and possibility of him visiting ‘Matoshree’ (the residence of the Thackerays) to break the deadlock, Raut said, “Gadkari is a resident of Mumbai. There is no news that he is coming.
“He will go to his house. Has he told you that he is bringing a letter giving the Sena 2.5 years of chief ministership.”
Asked about right-wing activist Sambhaji Bhide visiting Matoshree on Thursday to make an intervention in the ongoing power tussle between the saffron allies, Raut said, “This is a matter between the Shiv Sena and the BJP. There is no need for a third party intervention.”
To a question on Congress MLAs reportedly being shifted out of the state, Raut said,“Why is there fear? The Karnataka model will not work in Maharashtra.”
Asked about him tweeting a poem by former Prime Minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he said the poem, which talks about continuing fighting and not fleeing the battlefield, is a source of inspiration.
The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in the 21 October polls winning 105 seats, and its ally Sena, distant second largest with 56 seats, have not staked claim to form government together or separately till now.
The two parties, which contested the election under the aegis of ‘Mahayuti’, are bickering over sharing chief ministerial post since 24 October, when the poll results was out.
The NCP and the Congress won 54 and 44 seats, respectively, in the election to the 288-member assembly where the majority mark is 145.