Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday confirmed that the BJP and Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena will contest the upcoming assembly election in the state together as part of the National Democratic Alliance once again. Putting to rest all speculations, the Chief Minister said that his party BJP and Shiv Sena will form an alliance keeping aside all differences to contest the assembly election in the state which is due next month.
Fadnavis also said that there was no question of his government taking any political vendetta while referring to the Rs 5,000-crore Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB) scam in which several Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders have been named. He said that the Enforcement Directorate officials were acting against all accused as per the directions of the Bombay High Court.
Reacting to the ED probe against him, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had said that he will "welcome" and "enjoy" going to the jail in the money laundering case. "I have no problem if I am sent to jail. I will enjoy it instead as I have never experienced it. If someone is thinking to put me behind bars in this case, I will rather welcome it," Pawar said.
On September 23, the NCP chief, party leader Ajit Pawar and others were named in an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) in connection with the Rs 5,000 crore Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB) scam case. Apart from Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar, Diliprao Deshmukh, Isharlal Jain, Jayant Patil, Shivaji Rao Nalvade, Anand Rao Adsul, Rajendra Shingane, Madan Patil and some others have been named in the case.
The investigation has been initiated based on the FIR registered by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police following directions from the Bombay High Court, ED sources said.
The remarks from Devendra Fadnavis came shortly after Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that ''we are together going to form the government again in the state, it is certain.''
It may be recalled that Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had on Tuesday said that sharing of seats for the 288-member state assembly amongst the NDA coalition members in Maharashtra was a much bigger exercise than India-Pakistan partition.
"Maharashtra is a big state. The sharing of 288 seats is a bigger exercise than India-Pakistan partition. Had we sat in Opposition instead of being in govt the picture today would have been different," Raut had said, according to ANI.
The Sena MP went on to say that Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are relaxed about the seat-sharing formula and a decision on the same would be informed by the coalition to the media soon.
Raut had on September 19 remarked that if his party did not get half seats to contest in the upcoming Maharashtra polls then the alliance between the two parties could break.
"BJP will have to respect the fifty-fifty formulae that was decided in presence of Amit Shah and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. I am not talking of breaking alliance but what Diwakar Raote has said is not wrong," Raut said.
The BJP and Shiv Sena contested 2014 state assembly elections separately after they failed to arrive at a seat-sharing formula. However, they formed the government in the alliance after the elections as none of them was able to secure the majority on its own.
Elections to elect the 288 members of Legislative Assembly will be held on October 21. The counting of votes shall take place on October 24.