Mumbai: The Shiv Sena Monday announced its decision to sit in the opposition and not join the minority BJP government headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, a party official said.
A letter written by Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray seeking the post of Leader of Opposition for its Legislature Party leader Eknath Shinde has been delivered to the state Assembly Secretary Anant Kalse, party spokesperson Neelam Gorhe told reporters.
"A letter written by our President Uddhav Thackeray was submitted to Anant Kalse informing him that Eknath Shinde has been appointed as the leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party.
She added that the Sena's claim was by virtue of its position as the second largest party with 63 legislators in the 287-member house, with the Congress having 42 and the Nationalist Congress party 41 legislators.
"Since we are the second largest party in the House with 63 MLAs it is appropriate to appoint our leader as Leader of Opposition. We expect Shinde's name to be announced as early as possible," she said.
Sena's abrupt move comes a day after Uddhav's ultimatum to BJP to come clear on the issue of taking NCP's support for the survival of its minority government within two days failing which it would sit in the opposition. "If we don't get a atisfactory answer (from BJP) in next two days, we will sit in opposition," Uddhav had said last evening after a meeting of party legislators where he appointed Shinde as their leader.
Amid persistent differences with BJP over power sharing in Maharashtra, Uddhav had recalled Sena's Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai back to Mumbai from Delhi where he had gone to take oath as Union Minister. Sena had also boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of the new ministers who were inducted into the Narendra Modi government.
BJP has 121 MLAs in the Assembly which has effective strength of 287. NCP chief Sharad Pawar, whose party has 41 MLAs, today reiterated that it will back the Devendra Fadnavis government during the trust vote on November 12.