The Shiv Sena is cool with the offer of two central berths in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed expansion of his ministry in the next couple of days.
Confirming the developments, a senior Sena leader said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was merely implementing its promise to induct two more (Sena) nominees in the cabinet expansion.
The assurance was given to the party a few months ago and the whole issue would be discussed by the party before taking a decision in the matter, he said.
“It will be thoroughly discussed and a decision shall be taken by Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray… It would depend on whether the offer is for cabinet, minister of state or independent charge,” the leader said, requesting anonymity.
The PMO on Thursday sought two Shiv Sena nominees to be included in the union cabinet, to join Industry Minister Anant Geete.
The development came even as the Sena is in a logjam over extending support to the minority BJP government in Maharashtra headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The Sena has been bargaining hard for securing the plum post of deputy chief minister and other important ministries for its support to BJP in the vote-of-confidence scheduled here on November 12.
The BJP has made it clear that it would consider Sena’s demands only if it helps it clear the trust vote without preconditions.
But, the Sena is wary, after it was ticked off last May during the formation of Modi’s first ministry when it got only one berth, and later as the BJP snapped its 25-year old alliance (with Shiv Sena) on September 25.
The Sena leaders claim that the offer of two berths in the union cabinet would in no way affect the party’s strategy in Maharashtra.
The BJP, with 121 MLAs, plus one pre-poll ally Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, needs the support of 145 in the 288-member house.
The Sena has 63 legislators, but the NCP with 41 has decided to abstain from voting ensuring smooth sail for Fadnavis.