Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday reportedly rejected Shiv Sena’s demand that two of its MLAs be sworn in as ministers before the trust vote in state Assembly.
Fadnavis said that talks with Shiv Sena were on but Cabinet expansion will only happen after the confidence vote. He also denied knowledge of any deadline set by the Shiv Sena.
The Shiv Sena is believed to have told the BJP that if it has join the government in Maharashtra, its ministers must be sworn in before the trust vote. Fadnavis’ government has time till November 15 to do so.
The CM’s remarks came amid reports that the Shiv Sena may not join the state government after all.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena have so far failed to resolve their differences over terms for the latter’s participation in the ministry, and the main sticking point is deputy chief minister’s post.
With indications that the BJP may not yield the deputy CM’s post, sources said Shiv Sena has more or less decided on neither joining the government nor supporting it during trust vote.
The party led by Uddhav Thackeray would sit in the opposition unless the BJP makes a respectable offer, sources said further.
Both sides had been maintaining since last Friday when the Shiv Sena chief attended CM Devendra Fadnavis’ swearing-in that discussions were on to sort out the differences. However, a Sena MP on Tuesday had said that talks were “stuck” over deputy CM’s post.
“The talks between the two parties are stuck on the question of deputy CM’s post. We have been demanding deputy chief minister’s post for our nominee which they don’t want to give. We can make adjustments with regard to portfolios but not this,” the MP said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Sena has been insisting on following the 1995-formula under which the BJP, being the junior partner, had got the deputy chief minister’s post, in the first coalition government formed by the two saffron parties.
The practice was followed by successive Congress-NCP governments for 15 years, but now the BJP, which has emerged as the single-largest party with 121 seats in the 288-member Assembly, wants it to be discontinued.
He also said part of the problem was with portfolios being offered as important ones like home, finance, revenue and urban development have already been allotted to BJP ministers.
“Discussions should ideally be a two-way affair but here they want us to accept whatever they give,” he said, adding the Sena, despite having 18 Lok Sabha MPs, was given just one berth in the Union Cabinet and an “insignificant” portfolio of heavy industries.