After days of bargaining for the 50:50 formula for the chief minister’s post in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena has apparently softened its stand with party leader Sanjay Raut saying that the party must stay in the BJP-led alliance in the larger interest of Maharashtra, but without compromising on “respect”. Though he emphasised that Sena is no hurry to form the next government but rejected speculation that the party may parts its way if there was a delay in formation of the new Council of Ministers.
“Individuals are not important but state’s interest is important. Decisions need to be taken in a calm manner and keeping in mind the state’s interest,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has been aggressively pushing for rotational chief ministership and 50:50 power-sharing formula, demands rejected by the BJP. Raut said his party only wants implementation of what was decided between the two allies before the October 21 assembly polls.
To a question on whether the Shiv Sena was adamant on implementing the 50:50 formula (equal share in power), Raut said, “You (the media) are saying this. We only want things to be done according to what has been decided earlier.”
He said there was no question of any newly-elected Sena MLA leaving the party due to delay in government formation.“No newly-elected MLA from any party will split. There was no question of this happening with Shiv Sena MLAs,” Raut asserted.
About re-election of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as leader of the BJP legislature party, Raut said, “Those who have support of 145 MLAs (in a house of 288) will be the chief minister and it is duty to welcome him.”
Asked about reports that the BJP has offered deputy chief minister’s post and 13 portfolios to the Sena, Raut evaded a direct reply and said “We are not sitting with account books.”
Raut, the executive editor of Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, has been vociferously articulating the party’s demands for equal share in power and the chief minister’s post on a rotational basis.
On Tuesday, Raut had even talked of his party looking at “alternatives” if its key demands were not accepted by the BJP.
“We believe in the alliance (with BJP) as we contested the polls jointly. But the BJP should not compel us to commit the sin of looking for an alternative for government formation,” Raut had said.
The BJP has been insisting that Fadnavis will remain the chief minister for the next five years. The BJP won 105 assembly seats, while the Sena bagged 56 in the 288-member house.