Shiv Sena set to join government, lays claim to 8 Cabinet berths

According to Sena leaders, the party will get 12 ministerial berths, including seven to eight Cabinet portfolios; Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s PA and senior leader Anil Desai met CM Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday and agreed to join the government

It seems the Shiv Sena has been successful in getting what it wanted, and has agreed to join the government. According to senior party leaders, the Sena is set to get 12 ministerial berths, eight of which may be key Cabinet portfolios.

Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s PA Milind Narvekar (left) and leader Anil Desai met CM Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday. File pic
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s PA Milind Narvekar (left) and leader Anil Desai met CM Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday. File pic

Negotiations between the Sena and BJP have been on for some time over the issue of the former extending support to the BJP-led government. A delegation from Shiv Sena, comprising chief Uddhav Thackeray’s PA Milind Narvekar and senior Sena leader Anil Desai, met CM Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday, and expressed the party’s desire to join the government.

Realising its government wouldn’t survive long without the support of the Shiv Sena, the BJP, too, had to relent. However, Sena’s support comes with many riders. The BJP will have to part with key portfolios, because, as per a senior Sena source, the party has demanded Home, PWD, Irrigation, Agriculture, Health, Finance, Environment and another ministry.

Senior Sena leaders told this paper that issues between the two parties have been sorted out. “We will get 12 ministerial berths, including 7-8 Cabinet berths and 4-5 MoS ones,” a senior party leader said.

The BJP isn’t too keen on letting the Home portfolio go, but the Sena has persisted in its demand. Sena sources said the demand for the deputy CM’s post still holds, but that the party isn’t pressing too much for it. “The negotiations are at a final stage and everything will be concluded by tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Almost all our demands have been met and discussions have progressed smoothly,” said a senior Sena leader.

BJP says
Asked about the situation between the two parties, Prakash Mehta, senior BJP leader and state Industries minister, said, “It is done. All has been finalised.”

He refused to explain further. However, sources in the BJP claim that the CM isn’t keen on letting all of Sena’s ministers take oath in the upcoming ministry expansion, a stand that has not gone down well with the Sena.

“They want all ministers to be sworn in together. But we aren’t so keen on this. We have told them that one minister can take oath now, and the rest later. But, they are adamant that everyone should take oath together,” a senior BJP leader said. The expansion is scheduled to happen before the Winter Session of the state Assembly begins in Nagpur on December 8.

The BJP leader added that his party wanted to give the Shiv Sena eight ministerial berths, counting both Cabinet and MoS posts. “The final call on this will be taken tomorrow morning (Tuesday),” he added.

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