MUMBAI: In an apparent anti-climax that has brought the curtain down on some hard political bargaining, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday finally came round when it agreed to join Devendra Fadnavis Government in Maharashtra, a senior Sena leader said.
According to him, the Sena had settled for the five ministerial and seven Minister of State (MoS) berths offered by the BJP. Apart from that the BJP had indicated that Shiv Sena members would be appointed as as chairpersons in 16 out of 43 state-run corporations. The posts hold a Minister of State rank.
“The issue regarding the number of berths has been resolved. Now, we are talking on the portfolios,” the Shiv Sena leader said.
A BJP leader said that the Shiv Sena had given up its demand for the Home portfolio. “We will give them other important portfolios such as Industries, PWD, Health, Power and Transport.”
Sena MP Anil Desai, who was involved in the parleys with the BJP, refused to divulge details. “What you are saying is nothing but speculation. We haven’t taken a decision yet. Uddhavji (Thackeray) will take a final decision soon,” Desai said.
Earlier in the day, Desai along with senior leaders Manohar Joshi, Diwakar Raote and Ramdas Kadam discussed the issue of power sharing with Uddhav at the latter’s residence. A Sena leader said Uddhav was left with hardly any choice other than to accept the BJP’s offer as he had been under tremendous pressure from the Shivsainiks to join the government. “We also feared that he would not be able to keep the party intact if unrest brewed among the cadre,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fadnavis has reached Delhi to appraise his party bosses of the possible realignment with the Sena.
“The Maharashtra government has announced a three-day state mourning following former CM A R Antulay’s death. If Uddhav formally announces the pact with the BJP, the Cabinet expansion can take place on Friday,” an official said.