'No proposal from BJP but will form stable government'

Updated: Nov 01, 2019, 07:51 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Sena chief asks party workers to stay away from rumours regarding BJP's offer to it; unrest in BJP over ministerial berths to Sena members

Shiv Sena MLAs led by newly elected MLA Aditya Thackeray meet governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari at Raj Bhavan on Thursday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Shiv Sena MLAs led by newly elected MLA Aditya Thackeray meet governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari at Raj Bhavan on Thursday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

More than a week after the Assembly election results, the Shiv Sena has maintained that it would not step down from the demand for equitable distribution of power, including the CM's position. The party re-elected Eknath Shinde as its leader of legislative party on Thursday and the group headed straight to Raj Bhavan to seek the governor's intervention in seeking assistance for distressed farmers. Sena insiders said party chief Uddhav Thackeray told them that no formal offer had come through from the BJP about making of the government and the share the Sena's going to get.

"Rumours are making rounds. Don't trust anything that is said. I'm telling you that we haven't received any proposal from the BJP," Thackeray is reported to have told the meeting. He was speaking of the BJP camp's information that the Sena has been offered 16 ministerial berths including the deputy CM's position and asked to revert in two days. A Sena MLA said, "Uddhavji said that the talks between the parties were stalled because of the CM's denial of the agreement that Sena and BJP had reached in February. He said he didn't treat the ally as an enemy. I want BJP to implement what has been decided between me and Amit Shah. However, I'm confident that things will fall in place very soon and we will able to give a stable government."

BJP's offer
Insiders said the BJP was willing to give 16 ministerial berths to the Sena - eight each of cabinet and junior ranks. The party would part with the revenue department, but not give up the crucial home, urban development and finance ones. However, the Sena would get four junior ministers in these BJP-held important departments. The major departments that could go to Sena are housing, PWD, water resources, rural development and agriculture.

In addition, the Sena would get more governor's nominations in the upper house (MLCs). The 40 per cent seats in 130 state-run corporations would also go to the Sena, which may also get one more berth in the Union government.The BJP also has its preferences for Sena's deputy CM nominee in Aaditya Thackeray, Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai, in order of the appearance of their names. While talking to his MLAs, Thackeray denied any such offer being made. Despite BJP's displeasure, Sena mouthpiece Saamna continued to target the CM and the partner. It reiterated that Sena's demand for an equitable share in power and CM's post be fulfilled.

The offer made to the Sena has made some senior leaders and ministerial aspirants uneasy because they would have to give up portfolios they have been holding in the previous government. BJP's state president Chandrakant Patil would be the biggest loser if revenue goes to the Sena. Water resources minister Girish Mahajan would have to run the other portfolio. Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil who was made housing minister immediately after joining the BJP would also be at loss if made a minister again.

However, since Pankaja Munde (rural development) and Anil Bonde (agriculture) have lost elections, the shifting of their portfolios may not be very difficult, but the aspirants who are eyeing these public-related portfolios aren't taking things lying down. Looking at the possibility of the party losing out to the Sena, the power-sharing talks would now be curated by the party's national representatives including general secretary Bhupendra Yadav, who the BJP insiders said was urged by the prospective losers to ensure that the deal was skewed in the principal partner's favour.

CM woos independents
CM Devendra Fadnavis placated a flock of independents and small party MLAs by discussing local issues with them. The meeting was attended by Kshitij Thakur (Nalasopara) of BVA, which has three MLAs in the Assembly, Shyamsundar Shinde (Loha) of Peasants & Workers Party, Vinay Kore of Jan Surajya Shakti, Independent MLAs Ravi Rana (Badnera), Sanjay Shinde (Karmala), Geeta Jain (Meera Bhayander), Mahesh Baldi (Uran), Kishore Jorgewar (Chandrapur), Vinod Agarwal (Gondia), Rajendra Raut (Barshi) and Prakash Awade (Ichalkaranji). The MLAs reassured their firm support to Fadnavis, who assured them assistance for rain-affected farmers and redressal of other local issues.

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