Election Results 2019: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has called on the BJP to honour a 50:50 deal
A post-election tussle between the BJP and Shiv Sena may push formation and swearing-in of the new Maharashtra government to the end of the month. The two parties, who contested the Assembly elections together and secured 161 seats in the 288-member house, are believed to be squabbling over distribution of portfolios. The Sena, which won 56 seats to the BJP’s 105, has even hinted at the Chief Minister’s post, suggesting a two-and-a-half year rotation between the parties.
The BJP, which has sought to play down differences, is dependent on the Sena – and the Sena knows this – to form a stable government. The party has said differences will be resolved through negotiations.
“There is no confusion in government formation. BJP and Shiv Sena fought and won election in alliance. We will once again form the government. What is decided in alliance will happen,” Ashish Shelar, BJP leader and Education Minister, said.
Fully aware of the dependency, the Sena has begun playing hardball, stepping up demands to honour a 50:50 agreement made between Uddhav Thackeray and Union Minister Amit Shah earlier this year.
The party received unexpected support from the opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which won 54 seats to emerge as the third-largest party, with veteran politician Sharad Pawar saying there was nothing wrong with the Sena’s demands.
“In the 1990s also, there was a 50-50 formula for the Shiv Sena and the BJP. So they have past experience (in running the government). So the Sena can insist, nothing wrong in that,” Mr Pawar told NDTV.
In addition, posters calling the younger Mr Thackeray the “future Chief Minister” surfaced in a part of Mumbai on Friday, indicating that Sena workers want him to take the top job despite his father ruling the move out.
The Sena has, for now, committed itself to working things out but Devendra Fadnavis, who won his Nagpur (South West) seat, seems unwilling to relent and, in a veiled warning to the Sena, has referred to support from independent MLAs.
“15 independent MLAs have contacted me and they are ready to come with us. Others may also come but these 15 will surely come with us. Most of them are BJP or Shiv Sena rebels,” he said.
That number is far below the level of support offered by the Sena but, Mr Fadnavis will hope, the prospect of not being part of the government, will persuade them to soften their stance.
Meanwhile, the NCP is keeping its options open, although it has stopped just short of offering support to either party. Should the NCP, which was powered by Mr Pawar, 78, who single-handedly ran the opposition campaign, offer support to the Sena, the two will have marginally more (110 to 105) than the BJP, but neither will have a majority in the house.
“If there will be any sort of unrest in the Maharashtra politics because of the differences between Shiv Sena and BJP, then we will think what to do,” party spokesperson Nawab Malik said.
Shiv Sena MLAs, including the party’s rising young star – Aaditya Thackeray, who won the Worli seat in south Mumbai – are expected to meet party chief Uddhav Thackeray, who is Aaditya’s father, today. BJP MLAs are also expected to meet to discuss the situation. Negotiations are expected to continue after the Diwali festive season.
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