Shiv Sena MPs to sit in opposition benches in Parliament; skip today's NDA meet

The Shiv Sena MPs will sit in the opposition benches in the Rajya Sabha, party spokesperson Sanjay Raut had said late on Saturday.

Shiv Sena MPs to sit in opposition benches in Parliament; skip today's NDA meet

NEW DELHI: The bitter tussle over power-sharing in Maharashtra has divided the two longtime NDA allies - Shiv Sena and the BJP - and Uddhav Thackery's party has announced that its MPs will now sit in opposition benches in Parliament.

The Shiv Sena MPs will sit in the opposition benches in the Rajya Sabha, party spokesperson Sanjay Raut had said late on Saturday.

"We have got to know that the seating arrangement of two Shiv Sena MPs has been changed in the Parliament," he had said while speaking to news agency ANI.

It may be recalled that Raut is among the three Shiv Sena MPs in Rajya Sabha. 

The statement from Raut came two days ahead of the Parliament's winter session which begins from November 18.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra-based party, which walked out of the BJP-led NDA government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week, has also decided not to attend the meeting of the National Democratic Alliance later today.

"I have learnt that the meeting (of NDA constituents) is being held on November 17. We had already decided against attending the meeting considering the developments in Maharashtra...our minister resigning from the central government," Raut said. 

Raut made the announcement after meeting his party chief Uddhav Thackeray. Replying to another question on government formation in Maharashtra, he added that ''the process is underway and things are normal.''

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Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant had announced his resignation from the union cabinet on Monday.

Raut, who has been very critical of the BJP, had even questioned the existence of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. 

Slamming the party over the workings of the NDA, Raut said, "There is a lot of difference between the old NDA and today's NDA."

Raut further questioned, "Who is the convener of NDA today? Who is the convener for today's NDA? Who is the new Boss of NDA? Please tell me? I don’t know who it is."  

Uddhav's party decided to call off nearly three-decade-old ties with BJP after years of acrimony in the alliance that peaked after the recent assembly elections in the state, with the Sena accusing the BJP of breaking its promise of equal division of power in the state.

The Sena has been demanding rotational chief minister for 2.5 years - a demand which has been categorically rejected by the BJP, which said that no such deal on power-sharing took place ever.

Since then, the party has held talks with longtime rivals the Congress and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Sanjay Congress Party (NCP) to cobble up a majority.

The three parties - Shiv Sena, Congress and the NCP - have agreed to a draft on the common minimum programme - for running a coalition government in Maharashtra and have been holding hectic parleys to sort out the nitty-gritty of the power-sharing arrangement.

Both Sena and NCP had confirmed their readiness to form a government in Maharashtra along with Congress, which will complete a full term, ruling out mid-term elections in the state that is under President's Rule after no party won a majority in polls last month.