After realising that the BJP will not give it deputy chief minister’s chair, the Shiv Sena wants Home Dept, which it considers the second most important post in the government
As the day for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to prove its majority in the state gets closer, the Shiv Sena has a new demand. If senior leaders in the Sena are to be believed, the party has almost given up the demand for the post of deputy chief minister, as there is no way the BJP is going to give them this portfolio.
Now the home ministry is what the Sena leaders have set their eyes on. Currently, the chief minister holds the additional charge of Home, and the Sena, which considers the department as the second most important, wants it.
As per sources at a meeting at Sena Bhavan on Thursday, party chief Uddhav Thackeray met top leaders like Anil Desai, Neelam Gorhe and Subhash Desai, and a decision was taken to not budge for anything less than Home.
The Sena also doesn’t think the Modi government allotting them two more berths in the Union cabinet is compensation for what they will get in Maharashtra. A leader who was in the meeting said, “Uddhavji wants the best for the party and has made it clear that the Sena won’t be taking any ministry that isn’t of importance.
If not the chair of deputy CM, then Home, which is the second most important portfolio in the state government, should be given to the Sena. And all this has to be done before the government goes for the floor test.”
Majority on the floor
The first assembly session of the government will start on November 10, and the BJP’s minority government will have to prove its majority on the floor of the house. A vote will be held, where the BJP will have to cross the magic mark of 144. With support from Independents and smaller parties, BJP has taken its figure to 138 from the original 122 seats.
While NCP has offered unconditional support to BJP, the latter cannot take it because during the elections it criticised the former to seek votes. So the only option left with BJP is to take Sena’s support. Sena is aware of the haplessness of the BJP, but also knows that it is not in a very strong position and will have to compromise.
The BJP has already refused Sena’s demand for Dy CM, citing that the post doesn’t have constitutional sanctity. “When we had more numbers in the assembly, we had a deputy CM and gave the post to the BJP. We had a large heart, but we cannot expect the same from BJP anymore,” said a disgruntled leader of the Sena.
While the BJP is apparently giving two more cabinet berths at the Centre to Sena, the race for one berth is keeping everyone anxious in the party. “One name is final, that of Anil Desai, but the candidate for the second berth has still not been named.
The two names doing the rounds are Anandrao Adsul, MP from Amravati, and Chandrakant Khaire, MP from Aurangabad,” said the leader. Many are also seeing this as a compromise formula for the Sena take more in New Delhi, but less in the state.
However, Vinayak Raut, MP from Konkan and now a close aide of Thackeray, claimed, “We were going to get more seats in Delhi during the expansion of the cabinet. This is not a compromise in the state.” He claimed ignorance over the Sena’s demand for Home Ministry, saying that he was in the Konkan region and would return to on Saturday and give a proper response.