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Devendra Fadnavis quits, fires salvo at Shiv Sena; Uddhav Thackeray hits back

The saffron alliance in Maharashtra appears to be falling apart as Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Friday hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), virtually calling it a party of "liars". Responding to outgoing Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis` statement that there was "no discussion between the BJP and Shiv Sena on sharing the post of Chief Minister", Thackeray said: "(BJP President) Amit Shah himself gave me this assurance. Now they`re going back on their word. That`s why I have stopped talking to liars."

Devendra Fadnavis quits, fires salvo at Shiv Sena; Uddhav Thackeray hits back

Mumbai: The saffron alliance in Maharashtra appears to be falling apart as Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Friday hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), virtually calling it a party of "liars". Responding to outgoing Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis` statement that there was "no discussion between the BJP and Shiv Sena on sharing the post of Chief Minister", Thackeray said: "(BJP President) Amit Shah himself gave me this assurance. Now they`re going back on their word. That`s why I have stopped talking to liars."

The Sena chief said: "Giving the state a Sena Chief Minister was a promise I made to my father (the late Bal Thackeray). We don`t need the support of the BJP, Shah or Fadnavis for achieving that." Thackeray called upon the BJP to immediately stake claim to form the government as it was the largest single party, failing which "all options are open before the Sena", which would not abandon the people of Maharashtra.

He also indicated that his party will be open to seek the support of NCP and Congress in forming a government, while making several direct and indirect attacks at the BJP. "It is very sad that while cleaning the Ganga their minds became polluted. I felt bad that we entered into an alliance with the wrong people," he said, adding "We had never closed the doors for discussion, they(BJP) lied to us so we did not talk to them. We have not yet held talks with the NCP." 

"It is for the first time that someone levelled false allegations against Thackeray family. I am upset that Shiv Sena and Thackeray family has been accused of lying. We never said anything about PM Modi," Thackeray said, adding "We don`t need any certificate from anyone. I can`t go in front of people as a liar son of Balasaheb. That`s why I will do whatever I feel right. We accepted 124 seats as hand out." 

Fadnavis had earlier said that the BJP was shocked over remarks of Uddhav Thackeray. "Unfortunately, the day when results came, Uddhavji said all options are open for the government formation. That was shocking for us as people had given the mandate for the alliance. And, in such circumstances, it was a big question for us that`s why he (Thackeray) said all options are open for him," Fadnavis had said.The BJP and Shiv Sena had fought the Maharashtra polls in alliance with the former getting 105 and the latter 56 seats. 

Shiv Sena is 100% responsible for calling off talks: Fadnavis

Devendra Fadnavis blamed Shiv Sena for calling off the talks for the government formation in the state after the Assembly poll results were out and claimed the BJP never indulges in horse-trading. "From the very first day, the Shiv Sena is 100 per cent responsible. They called off the talks. After that, we continuously tried to have a discussion. They never picked up our phone. I myself made many calls but they never answered," he told reporters. 

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Fadnavis, after tendering his resignation as Chief Minister to Governor BS Koshiyari, addressed a press conference where he put the blame for no government squarely on the Sena chief. 

He said, "We fought together as `Mahayuti`, but Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in his first press conference (after election results) said that all options to form the government are open... It was a shock for us,` said Fadnavis, who has so far been restrained in his comments. Even while coming out of BJP chief Amit Shah`s residence in New Delhi, he refused to be provoked."

"Some people are alleging the BJP is indulging in horse-trading of MLAs. BJP does not do such things. They should stop giving such statements for publicity. I ask them to come to me if there is any such thing. BJP never forms the government by breaking any party. We don`t need more MLAs. The BJP will form a strong government," said Fadnavis, whom Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari has appointed Maharashtra`s acting chief minister. 

"I had earlier said that there are some differences between us. We want to be together by keeping differences at bay. During the alliance, we told them that they should stop giving statements against the BJP," said Fadnavis.

Fadnavis said that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has appointed him the acting Chief Minister of the state. "The Governor has given me permission to be an acting Chief Minister till any other alternatives like the President`s Rule. I will be acting chief minister as per the Governor`s request," he told reporters.

"This is a very critical situation in the state. In 325 talukas, crops of farmers have been badly affected due to unseasonal rains. We have taken decisions, which are in favour of farmers," he added.

BJP-Sena should form govt for people's welfare: Gadkari

Earlier in the day, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the BJP and Shiv Sena should form government in Maharashtra for the sake of welfare of the people. Gadkari told mediapersons in Mumbai, "There is still time. I feel BJP-Shiv Sena should come together to form the government for the sake of welfare of the people." 

On being asked about the 50-50 formula that was agreed upon between the Sena and BJP prior to Assembly polls, he said: "As far as 50-50 formula issue is concerned, no such promise was made by Amit Shah." 

The BJP and Shiv Sena had fought the Assembly polls together and the BJP emerged as the single largest party by winning 105 seats, while Shiv Sena bagged 56 seats in the 288-member Vidhan Sabha. The Shiv Sena has insisted that the two parties had a `50-50` power-sharing agreement before the elections. Fadnavis has said the Shiv Sena was not promised the chief ministerial post for two-and-a-half years when the alliance was sealed before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.