BJP-Sena back together, committee formed on Thackeray memorial

BJP and Shiv Sena made a formal announcement of their alliance yesterday, with the Sena getting 12 ministers; the government has also instituted an eight-member committee to work on building a memorial to the Sena founder

It has finally happened. The BJP and Shiv Sena made a formal announcement of their alliance yesterday, after a separation of two months. A total of 12 Sena men will be inducted into the state ministry.

Preparations underway for the oath-taking ceremony of the expanded cabinet, scheduled for 4 pm today. Pic/Bipin KokatePreparations underway for the oath-taking ceremony of the expanded cabinet, scheduled for 4 pm today. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The BJP-led government also announced the formation of a committee to work on building a memorial to Sena founder Bal Thackeray. Speaking at a joint press conference at the state guesthouse Sahyadri, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena leaders made the announcement.

CM Devendra Fadnavis addresses a press conference with Shiv Sena leaders (left to right) Anil Desai, Subhash Desai, Diwakar Raote, Ramdas Kadam and Eknath Shinde on Thursday. Pic/PTI
CM Devendra Fadnavis addresses a press conference with Shiv Sena leaders (left to right) Anil Desai, Subhash Desai, Diwakar Raote, Ramdas Kadam and Eknath Shinde on Thursday. Pic/PTI

“The popular verdict was in favour of BJP and Sena, against the Congress and NCP. We are respecting the public sentiments,” the CM said, in presence of Sena leaders Subhash Desai, Anil Desai, leader of opposition Eknath Shinde, Ramdas Kadam and Diwakar Raote. BJP ministers Chandrakant Patil and Pankaja Munde were also present. Shinde will have to tender his resignation as leader of opposition.

Of the 12 chosen Sena men, five will get a Cabinet rank, with the rest to be inducted as ministers of state. There will be no deputy CM, Fadnavis said. He also declared that all future elections to local and civic bodies would be fought under the alliance’s banner. “A coordination committee is being set up for allocation of seats,” he added.

Thackeray memorial and ministers
In a significant development, the state government order stated an empowered group, headed by Maharashtra chief secretary Swadhin Kshatriya, would work on erecting a memorial to late Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

The eight-member group comprises secretaries of general administration and urban development department, along with the Konkan divisional commissioner, BMC commissioner and the police commissioner of Mumbai. The order paves way for the smooth working of the alliance, feel bureaucrats, as it comes a day before the swearing-in ceremony of the expanded cabinet.

Shiv Sainiks had been waiting for this since Thackeray’s death and Fadnavis had even spoken about it after his visit to Shivaji Park on November 17, Thackeray’s death anniversary. Sources from the alliance claimed the BJP and Sena had to come together for the smooth running of the government and avoid intra-party bickering.

There was resentment within the Sena camp over the delay in joining the government and the decision to sit in Opposition. “The more the Sena became aggressive as an opposition party, the more the BJP government would have made things difficult in civic bodies under control of the Sena, such as BMC, Thane and Aurangabad,” said a Sena leader.

In BJP, Fadnavis was keen on aligning with Sena to ensure stability of his government. NCP’s flip-flops on supporting his government and voices of discontent from BJP were raising the level of discomfort, party sources said. The CM convinced his party bosses in Delhi on these issues and ensured Sena came on board, sources claimed.

New-look cabinet

>> Shiv Sena had to buckle to internal pressure and ask for 10 to be sworn in, instead of the earlier decided number of seven.

>> 20 ministers will be inducted into Fadnavis’s expanded cabinet in the swearing-in ceremony scheduled for 4 pm today 10 from each party.

>> Two Sena men will be absorbed into the state cabinet later.

>> Uddhav Thackeray, along with his wife and sons, paid a visit to Raj Bhavan. The Thackerays had lunch with Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and his wife Vinoda Rao.

Ganesh Naik
Ganesh Naik to join BJP?

In Navi Mumbai, the NCP is likely to receive a jolt with a brewing rebellion by party heavyweight Ganesh Naik, who is likely to join the BJP along with his two sons Sandeep and Sanjeev and corporators from Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation. Sandeep Naik is an MLA from Airoli constituency. Ganesh Naik chaired a meeting of his supporters yesterday, where the issue of joining the BJP figured prominently, sources said.

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