Never made 50-50 promise to Sena: CM Devendra Fadnavis
Devendra Fadnavis said there was no discussion on sharing of CM's post during the pre-Lok Sabha meeting with the Shiv Sena in February
Putting to rest speculations about what was decided among the BJP and Sena before polls, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said that to the best to his knowledge, the ally wasn't promised a CM's post for two and a half years during the pre-Lok Sabha alliance meeting in February this year. However, Fadnavis also added that BJP's national leadership should know better the assurances made, if any, because he wasn't part of the negotiations then.
"When we (the BJP and Sena) had a pre-Lok Sabha meeting, the Sena had proposed rotating the chief minister's post but no decision regarding it was taken then in my presence. It should be known to party president Amitji Shah and Sena president Uddhavji Thackeray," said Fadnavis, speaking to media persons at a Diwali get-together at his official residence Varsha on Tuesday.
The CM's declaration escalated tensions between the partners because the Sena is adamant on getting the CM's position and an equal share in power in the government that they are supposed to make if everything falls in place before the current lower house dissolves on November 9.
Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who is accused of derailing talks between the two parties with his BJP-bashing editorials in Sena mouthpiece Saamna, has said, "If the CM is saying that the '50-50 formula' was never discussed, then, I think that we need to change the dictionary definition of truth. What was discussed about sharing the CM's post is known to all. The media was there (at a joint press conference)," he said.
"The CM himself said the '50-50 formula' was decided and Uddhavji also spoke about it. Amit Shah was present then. The CM is denying what he said before the camera," said Raut, adding that he was presenting the party's view that was all about fulfilling the promises made earlier.
Keen on re-establishing dominance in the alliance in view of the BJP's reduced strength, the Sena has demanded a written assurance from BJP for implementing the formula that was agreed upon nine months ago. Though the Sena has said power-sharing talks haven't begun yet, Fadnavis said the discussions were on through formal and informal channels. "Reasonable demands (of Sena) will be considered on their merit," he said.
Fadnavis remains CM-elect
According to Fadnavis, party president Shah would not be in Mumbai on Wednesday when the leader of BJP legislative party, who would make a claim to form the government, is elected. Fadnavis, who is the party's CM choice, was confident of providing a stable and efficient government in alliance with the Sena for the next five years. "Do you still have any doubt? The name has been already announced and now it is a mere formality," he said about his selection as the CM candidate.
He said there was no plan B to garner a simple majority because the Sena would go along with the BJP. He also denied having a group of Sena MLAs in touch with him or any other party leader as claimed by Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakde. "Has he (Kakde) said that? In fact, I'm not in touch with Kakde," he concluded.
Day the current lower house dissolves
Bad start to negotiations
While the CM said there was no meeting proposed between the alliance partners on Tuesday afternoon, Sena MP Sanjay Raut asserted the parties had appointed two each representatives to deliberate on power sharing but the meeting was called off because there was no issue to be discussed. "Uddhavji has cancelled the meeting following the CM's statements that 50-50 formula wasn't ever discussed," he said. Meantime, CM Fadnavis and party's national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav were holed up for a long time at the former's residence discussing things that were not known immediately.
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