Mumbai: Devendra Fadnavis' election as the BJP legislative party leader to take over as the new chief minister of Maharashtra has forced the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena to swung into action.
Reports on Wednesday claimed that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has called a meeting of his party's newly elected MLAs to discuss the future course of action vis-a-vis supporting the first-ever BJP government in Maharashtra.
Sources claim that shortly after Fadnavis met the state's Governor CV Rao at the Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form the government, senior Shiv Sena leaders met yesterday and forwarded a proposal to the BJP asking for assurance on portfolios.
However, a section of Sena leaders are of a view that the party should sit in opposition rather than joining the government.
On Tuesday morning, Shiv Sena had said that the party will clear its stand on supporting the BJP government only after it elects the new legislative party leader.
On the other hand, the BJP is also keeping its former ally waiting with sources close to the party claiming that the central leadership now wants Shiv Sena to apologise for making objectionable remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah.
“The BJP-Sena alliance is a foregone conclusion. It is just a matter of time. But we want to convey our displeasure over their remarks against the Prime Minister and Amit Shah. They will have to apologise,” a Union Minister was quoted as saying.
In the run-up to the polls, Thackeray had said the BJP’s star campaigners were like “Afzal Khan’s aulad”. Addressing a public rally at Tuljapur, Sena national president had said, “What are they up to? First Modi comes to campaign, then his entire cabinet team campaigns for votes in Maharashtra. They are like Afzal Khan’s aulad, trying to conquer this state.”
Another issue that has hurt the BJP leadership is an editorial that appeared in Sena mouthpiece “Saamna” a day after the poll campaign ended. “The BJP ignored Sena after the Lok Sabha win. The Sena played a significant role, otherwise even Modi’s father would not have been able to win majority in the Lok Sabha polls,” it said.
Sources said the BJP has conveyed to the Sena that it wants a public or private apology. The party also wants the Sena to declare its support without any terms and conditions. The BJP’s list of dos and don’ts form part of the back channel negotiations, which also include discussions on cabinet berths.
Although preparations are in full swing at the Wankhede Stadium for Devendra Fadnavis' swearing-in-ceremony, there is no word yet on BJP-Sena alliance on power sharing in Maharashtra.
A section of state BJP leaders believe that Shiv Sena, as an alliance partner, would be better in the long run as compared to the NCP’s outside support. Any attempt to join forces with NCP would hurt the BJP’s image.