Amid the ongoing tug-of-war between Shiv Sena and BJP over government formation in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut on Thursday said that the MLAs from other parties, including the Congress and NCP, are also in touch with Shiv Sena.
On the other hand, Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray said in a meeting of newly-elected MLAs of his party that they should not believe in rumours. Uddhav added that the Shiv Sena is yet to receive an offer from any political party but remarked that some parties are putting forward their proposals through media. Uddhav reiterated that Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah must fulfil the promise of 50-50 formula for power-sharing in the state. He stressed that the formula was agreed by Shah during a meeting before the Lok Sabha election.
The Shiv Sena chief also attacked Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for his informal interaction with media on Diwali and said that the talks between Shiv Sena and BJP came to a halt only after Fadnavis' statements on Diwali.
Earlier on Thursday, Shiv Sena elected Eknath Shinde as the leader of its legislative party. His name was proposed by Worli MLA Aditya Thackeray, who was also rumoured to be one of the likely candidates. Shinde is currently the PWD Minister in the Maharashtra government. He is a member of Legislative Assembly from Kopri-Pachpakhadi constituency of Thane. He has been elected consecutively for three terms in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for 2004, 2009 & 2014. This is the second time he has been appointed the leader of the legislative party in Maharashtra.
It is to be noted that Shiv Sena and BJP had contested the recently held Assembly election as allies but they are yet to reach an agreement over the chief minister's post, thus delaying the formation of new government in the state. Shiv Sena is putting pressure on the BJP to accept the 50-50 formula under which the chief minister's post will be rotated between the two parties for 2.5 years but the BJP is unwilling to bow down to Sena's pressure.
The BJP has emerged as the single largest party in the state winning 105 seats in 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, while Shiv Sena finished at second place with 56 seats. The NCP managed to win 54 seats and the Congress emerged victorious on 44 seats.