MUMBAI: Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday warned against any attempt to poach his party legislators while also categorically ruling out mediation by the RSS in government formation in Maharashtra. Talking to reporters, the Sena MP said, ''No talks are going on with the RSS on it”.
The firebrand Shiv Sena leader also denied media reports that his party MLAs were being shifted to some safe location to avoid poaching allegedly by the BJP.
Clarifying on the issue, Raut said, ''We are not moving our MLAs to any location. Our MLAs are intact. If anyone has guts, I challenge them to do that, there will be consequences. But some leaders from other parties have spoken about that fear with their MLAs. It has been seen that in such a situation the ruling party is involved in horse-trading & pressure tactics. But what happened in Karnataka and Goa that will not be allowed to happen. ”
''Those who are spreading such rumours should worry about their MLAs first,'' Raut added.
The Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP favoured making Aaditya Thackeray as the next chief minister of Maharashtra, saying that people of Maharashtra want the same.
Reacting to the continuing political deadlock in Maharashtra, Raut said, ''The face and politics of Maharashtra are changing, you will see. What you call 'hungama' (commotion), is not 'hungama', but the fight for justice & rights, victory will be ours.''
The comments from Raut came hours ahead of BJP leaders' scheduled meeting with the state's Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari in connection with government formation in Maharashtra.
As per reports, the BJP delegation will meet the Governor around 2 pm. However, according to sources, the BJP will not stake claim to form a government in Maharashtra as it lacks a clear majority.
Incumbent Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will not be a part of the delegation despite being elected as BJP Legislative Party leader in Maharashtra.
While the BJP delegation is due to meet the Governor today, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena remains adamant that a coalition government be formed under the 50:50 formula - a power-sharing agreement reportedly agreed by the two parties before the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
The BJP claims to have 121 MLAs including Independents and small parties on its side. But this number is much less than the 145-mark, the number needed in the Maharashtra Assembly. Therefore, the party has decided not to stake claim to form a government.
On the other hand, if no government is formed by November 8 and the Governor calls the BJP since it is the single-largest party, then, in that case, the state leadership will decide only after consulting the top leaders if they should go ahead or not.
November 8 is the last date for the formation of government in Maharashtra.
Earlier, Raut had said that the BJP should stake claim to form the government in Maharashtra as it is the single-largest party and noted his party will welcome any statement from Congress for the formation of a non-BJP alternative in the state.
Talking to reporters, Raut said BJP should tell the state Governor that they have the majority to form the government. "We met Maharashtra the Governor. Republican Party of India`s Ramdas Athawale also met him. If BJP leaders are meeting Governor tomorrow to stake claim to form the government as they are the single largest party, we have been saying this. They should convey that they have the majority number of 145 to form the government, we would be very happy," Raut told reporters here.
Raut also met NCP chief Shard Pawar, who later ruled out going with Shiv Sena and said that his party will sit in the Opposition.
The BJP has emerged as the single largest party by winning 105 seats in the recently held Assembly polls, while the Shiv Sena got 56 seats in 288-member assembly. Ten days have passed since the poll results were announced on October 24 but there is a delay in the government formation as BJP-Shiv Sena still engaged in ironing out differences.