Sena will not settle, says Uddhav
Kalanagar home sees party meet and demand for CM post; this time the deal needs to be inked
Escalating the situation, the Shiv Sena has sent a clear message to its alliance partner, Bharatiya Janata Party, that it will not settle for anything less than equal share in power, including the CM's post, if the partners have to rule together for the next five years. It said all options were open if the agreement did not take place as per Sena's demands.
Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is learned to have told his legislators that though he was open to all options, he would not breach the alliance that was bound by the common thread of Hindutva. He wanted the BJP to come clear and tell him in writing if the terms and conditions that were agreed upon before the Lok Sabha polls would be implemented in totality.
Thackeray convened a meeting of 56 Sena legislators at his Kalanagar home on Saturday. The MLAs authorised the chief to take all decisions but asked him not to step down from the demand for CM's office, come what may.
Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik told mediapersons after the meeting that BJP president Amit Shah had promised Thackeray that the Sena would be given the CM position for two and a half years and all other responsibilities would also be shared equally between the partners. The assurance had come when the pact for Lok Sabha elections was finalised, said Sarnaik. He added that the MLAs also asked their chief to ensure that the agreement is inked this time and doesn't remain verbal.
"The president has told us about everything that had happened behind the curtains before the Lok Sabha polls. The Shiv Sena expects BJP to come up with a proposal to form the government in alliance with Sena. Our chief will not take any further decision until the BJP sends him a formal letter. We will accept whatever decision our president takes after the talks begin formally," said the MLA.
In response to Sena's demand, BJP national general secretary Saroj Pandey told a news channel that her party would be installing its CM. Incumbent CM Devendra Fadnavis had told mid-day on Friday that the Sena was offered the Deputy CM's post in the past. BJP insiders said in addition to the DCM post, the Sena would be given some plum portfolios, but not departments that the partner would be asking for as per the formula of their first coalition government between 1995 and 1999.
While other permutations and combinations were discussed in political circles, NCP boss Sharad Pawar told media persons specifically that his party was given a mandate to sit in the opposition and it would stick to that role effectively. Congress has taken a cautious approach. Thus, it means the Sena will have no strange bedfellows to fulfil its dream.
The BJP announced on Saturday that its legislators would meet on October 30 to elect the leader of the legislative party. The party has made up its mind to elect incumbent CM Fadnavis as the leader and CM candidate. The NCP legislative party will also meet the same day to elect its leader and opposition leader in the lower house, a post it will be getting for the first time.
The first time BJP and Sena formed a coalition government
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