Sitting chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis was elected the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislature party leader in a party meeting held in Mumbai. Devendra Fadnavis thanked Uddhav Thackeray for support during Maharashtra Assembly polls. He also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and gave an assurance that a government will be formed soon. But power sharing is yet in debate.
BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar told media, “The Assembly election mandate was for the Mahayuti (as the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance is called in Maharashtra) and asserted that BJP too had various options open before it to form government. This was two days after the Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut said his party should not be compelled to look for an alternative to form the next government and asserted there are “no saints in politics”.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Dr Manisha Kayande said, “I will not comment on the ongoing tussle between Sena and BJP. Our party has arranged a meeting on Thursday and we will decide on future course of action.”
Devendra Fadnavis said that no 50-50 formula was agreed or discussed with the Shiv Sena, as it has insisted while demanding an equal share of power in Maharashtra. However, after the victory, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had demanded a 50-50 per cent share of power and had claimed that BJP President Amit Shah had assured him of the same prior to the assembly elections.
BJP spokesperson Suresh Nakhua said, “As per announcement in media the Fadnavis government will take oath on November 3. An official announcement from BJP is expected soon. Devendra Fadnavis has been appointed as leader of the legislature party. We are sure that we will be forming the government.”
Whereas Devendra Fadnavis clarified that there was no formula to split the Chief Minister’s post between the two parties for two-and-a-half years each as claimed by Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. He said that Amit Shah had never told him about any agreement of seat-sharing and also added that Shiv Sena had made no such demands.
In last week’s Maharashtra election, the BJP won 105 seats and the Shiv Sena scored 56. Together, the two have 161 seats, way past the halfway mark of 144, but with the BJP’s dependence for numbers higher this time, the Sena has set its terms.
Meanwhile, the NCP chief Sharad Pawar openly declared that his party NCP will never align with Shiv Sena. He further said that power comes and goes but commitment is necessary. Moreover, Pawar clarified that those who left NCP to join other parties will not be inducted again.
However, BJP has suffered a setback in this election. In 2014 assembly polls, BJP got 122 seats out of 260 while this assembly election the party only managed to win on 105 seats which are 17 seats less compared to the previous polls.
Shiv Sena has performed satisfactorily and has lost nearly seven seats as compared to the previous assembly polls. On the other hand, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress alliance’s performance in the state has improved. Congress managed to get only 44 seats while NCP won on 54 seats.
NCP and Congress along with other allies would jointly decide on the future strategy, Pawar added.