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Maharashtra government formation : “No point in continuing alliance with BJP”, says Sanjay Raut

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Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday said if the BJP was not willing to fulfill its promise of sharing the chief minister’s post in Maharashtra, there was no point in continuing the alliance.

A day after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited the Shiv Sena to stake claim to form government, Raut told reporters here that the BJP “insulted” people’s mandate by not abiding to the “50:50” formula which, he claimed, was decided before the Lok Sabha polls.

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The BJP on Sunday announced it would not form government in the state and accused the Shiv Sena of “disrespecting” people’s mandate secured by the NDA in the recent Assembly polls.

“The BJP’s arrogance that it would sit in the opposition but not share the chief minister’s post has led to this situation…if the BJP is not willing to implement its promise, then there is no meaning in staying with the alliance,” the Rajya Sabha member said.

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To a query, he said when the BJP could tie-up with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to form government in the then Jammu and Kashmir state, why the Sena cannot do the same with the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra.

“Should we call the BJP’s association with PDP as ‘love jihad’? I am simply underscoring here the contradiction behind the question,” Raut said.

The PDP, a regional party, and the BJP, both ideologically different, came together to form government in the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state in 2015. However, the BJP ended its alliance with the Mehbooba Mufti-led party last year, following which the government there collapsed.

Raut also expressed disappointment over the Uddhav Thackeray-led party being given just 24 hours to stake claim.

The Sena, which is the second-largest party in the 288-member House with 56 MLAs after the BJP (105), has time till 7.30 pm on Monday to stake claim to form government.

“The BJP was the single largest party, but it was given 72 hours, as per my information. Our numbers are less than the BJP, in such a situation we should have been given more time. However, the Sena will respect the governor’s decision and we will inform him our stand by today evening,” Raut said.

“A conspiracy is going on to keep Maharashtra under control through President’s rule. The Sena, NCP and Congress have agreed to not let this conspiracy succeed,” he added.

Reaching out to the opposition parties, he said the Congress and NCP should bury their internal differences to come up with a ‘common minimum programme’ in the interest of Maharashtra.

“The Sena, NCP and Congress agree on protecting the interest of Maharashtra,” he said.

After the BJP declined to form government in Maharashtra on Sunday, the governor asked the Sena to “indicate its willingness and ability” to stake claim.

While the Sena has been making efforts to reach out to the NCP and the Congress, the Sharad Pawar-led party on Sunday said the Sena will have to walk out of the NDA first.

Sena leader Arvind Sawant, the lone party minister in the Modi Cabinet, on Monday announced his decision to quit the NDA government at the Centre.

 

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