BJP bends, Shiv Sena stiff, meeting inconclusive

Shiv Sena wants the ruling party to make it ‘a respectable offer’ read eight ministries before it considers joining the government in the state

Though the BJP is interested in getting back with the Shiv Sena, yesterday’s rendezvous at the Thackeray residence gave little indication of how the winter between the two would thaw.

Will Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray join hands with the BJP? File pic
Will Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray join hands with the BJP? File pic

Last evening, BJP Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and State Minister Chandrakant Patil met Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and leader Subhash Desai at Matoshree to discuss the possibility of getting together again.

But, given the brevity of the meeting, Sena members didn’t risk speculating whether Uddhav had given his nod to the BJP. Reliable sources told us that Shiv Sena has asked for eight cabinet berths if it is to lend its heft to the minority BJP government in the state.

Since many in the party do not consider Pradhan or Patil senior enough to talk to Thackeray, the duo will now take Sena’s demands to Delhi for the consideration of the top leadership. Members from both the parties, however, claimed that a patch-up is expected.

A state BJP leader said a final decision would be taken by next Saturday. “They are asking for eight ministries, whereas the BJP is trying to make them understand that it’s sort of a difficult thing, but we are trying to negotiate.

We want the Sena to be part of our government before the session starts, because we want some important bills to be tabled and passed, for which we want to be in full majority,” the leader said.

“Also, the minority government status is not something we like, and NCP’s support is not acceptable to many in the RSS, which thinks that Sena is our natural ally and we should take only Sena’s support in the state assembly.”

The Sena, we have learnt, isn’t willing to settle for anything less “respectable”. South Mumbai MP and Sena spokesperson Arvind Sawant said, “We aren’t reluctant to talk to the BJP or join them in power, but it has to be a respectable offer.” While he didn’t say how many ministries the Sena wants, he stressed on the ‘respectable’ bit.

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