After weeks of belligerence and dilly-dallying, the Shiv Sena finally seems to have given way in the state. Indications of the surrender emerged after the party mouthpiece, Saamana, published an editorial yesterday stating they would support the CM of the state, whoever it is.
In its Saamana editorial, the Shiv Sena preferred Nitin Gadkari over Devendra Fadnavis, stating the former has more experience in governance
The editorial praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for winning in Maharashtra. In one sentence, the party also questions who would be the ‘Vada Pradhan’ of Maharashtra, using the Gujarati word for Chief Minister, to signify the impact of Gujaratis in the Assembly polls.
They also said they would support Pankaja Munde as the first woman CM of the state. File pics
The editorial piece also lauds the Shiv Sena for performing well in other parts of Maharashtra. Sena is largely seen as a party restricted to Mumbai, Thane and parts of Konkan. However, the party has won seats in Marathwada and western Maharashtra.
The CM question
The party, however, has chosen to support Nitin Gadkari’s candidature over the favourite Devendra Fadnavis. Titling the piece ‘Rajyacha Gadkari Kon’ (‘Who shall be the CM of the state’, in Marathi), the Sena stated their preference for Gadkari due to his experience in governance, as compared to Devendra Fadnavis who is comparatively a greenhorn. However, the party acknowledged that Fadnavis had the support from the Centre.
Citing some factions in the BJP vying for Eknath Khadse and some supporting Gopinath Munde’s daughter Pankaja’s candidature, the Sena referenced the incident related to Pratibha Patil, in which the party chose to vote for the Congress’s presidential candidate over NDA’s P A Sangma, since Patil would become the first woman President of the country.
Drawing a comparison, the editorial said the party wouldn’t mind supporting Munde, if she were to become the first woman CM of Maharashtra. According to a Sena leader, voices within the party are pushing for being a part of the government.
The party is under duress to give unconditional support to BJP, after Sharad Pawar announced that, if there were to be a floor test asking the BJP to prove its majority, the NCP would abstain from voting.
This would mean the BJP would be able to form a minority government without the need to reach 145 MLAs. “The Sena is now under pressure and has to decide what it has to do. It cannot keep us waiting, because the NCP’s statement gives us the opportunity to form government without any external support,” said a BJP leader.