BJP minister questions Shiv Sena's participation in government

Exposing the uneasy relationship between the two ruling partners in Maharashtra, a senior BJP minister Friday virtually raised questions on ally Shiv Sena's participation in the state government.

"If the Shiv Sena's intention in joining the alliance was merely to provide stability to the government, they could have done it from outside... What was the need for it to join the government?" Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse said.

He was referring to a statement Thursday by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray that since his party did not enjoy complete majority in Maharashtra it had decided to join the BJP government and provide a stable administration in the state.

"We are expecting good performance from the government and we will also appreciate it. But if any injustice is meted out to the Marathis, we shall take to the streets and agitate," Thackeray said.

His remarks came at a glittering premiere of "Bal-Kadu", a biopic on the party founder and his father Bal Thackeray. The biopic was directed by MP Sanjay Raut.

Khadse said the Shiv Sena is now a part of the government, but if its objective was to provide stability, they could have done so from outside, without joining the ministry.

Allies for 25 years, the two parties split Sep 25 and fought the Oct 15 state assembly elections separately, but both failed to get a simple majority in the house on their own.

A month after remaining in the opposition, the Shiv Sena crossed over to the ruling side and joined the minority government headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Dec 5.

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