The Shiv Sena has finally taken a decision to sit in the opposition after BJP failed to clarify its stand over seeking support from the NCP for government formation. The BJP which has won 121 seats is 24 seats short of majority and has been keeping its cards close to its chest and did not allot any portfolio to Shiv Sena prior to winning the vote of confidence. Sena on the other hand has been lobbying hard for plum portfolios like Deputy Chief Minister and various other key portfolios.
Shiv Sena MLA Neelam Gorhe said, “We have sent a letter to the assembly secretary about our decision to sit in the opposition. We have nominated Eknath Shinde as the leader of opposition. Whatever decision Sharad Pawar has to take he will take but we will play our role of a constructive opposition. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is yet to decide which party’s support he will seek for the government formation. We had tried out best to resolve the deadlock over the alliance issue but it failed.”
Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde said, “We have won 63 seats in the assembly election and are the second largest party in the state. We will sit in the opposition and also work for the interests of the people of Maharashtra.”
The Sena legislators have already made up their decision to sit in the opposition. They had worn saffron pheta (headgear) and reached the Legislative Assembly in a group and occupied the benches meant for Opposition, where their seating arrangement was made, in keeping with the norms for the second largest party in the 288-member House.
“We will not let the BJP have a smooth ride. Let the BJP make its stand clear whether it’s going to take NCP’s support or not. We have already raked up the Hindutva line to take the morale high ground over BJP,” said a senior Sena leader.
Earlier the Sena had said that it will vote against the BJP if it accepted support from the NCP, an anti-Hindutva party.
Sharad Pawar would support the BJP-led minority government in Maharashtra, whether the party sought it or not, as a stable political regime was in the interest of the state.
At a crowded news conference Mr. Pawar, however, kept up the suspense on the strategy of his party when the trust motion of the newly sworn-in government led by Devendra Pradhan comes up for voting on November 12.
“We would take a call on the trust vote depending on our assessment about the stability of the Fadnavis government,” he said implying that the NCP would vote in favour of the motion if necessary.
“The NCP has taken a decision in the interest of stability of the state. Neither has any one approached us for support nor have we discussed with it any one,” he said in response to a question on the demand of the Shiv Sean that the BJP should make its position clear on the support offered by the NCP.
The lack of top-level connect between the parties, combined with the ego battles the state BJP leadership was indulging in to avenge the old hurts inflicted by the Sena under Bal Thackeray, has meant that the two parties are making a compromise impossible.
On November 12, the Speaker will be elected after which Fadnavis will move a trust vote. The session will conclude with the Governor’s address to legislators.