MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena on Saturday softened its stand on post-poll alliances and announced that there were no permanent adversaries in politics. The announcement has led to speculation that the party will either support the BJP or will seek support from the NCP in case no single party manages to reach the magical figure of 145 to secure a clear majority in Maharashtra.
As counting of votes for Maharashtra Assembly election begins on Sunday, all the major parties have started to gauge the post-poll scenario in the state.
The BJP, which is likely to end up with the maximum number of seats, according to the exit polls, is confident of forming the government on its own, a first for the saffron party in Maharashtra. However, it has displayed the real politik to take the Shiv Sena along with it in case the party falls short of securing an absolute majority.
State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said the party did not consider the Sena as its political opponent. “We have always maintained that our political opponents are the Congress and the NCP. We share our ideology with the Shiv Sena,” he said.
Fadnavis has categorically said that the BJP will not take support from the NCP in any case even if it falls short of the majority. “We have contested this election targeting the NCP and the Congress for their rampant corruption. The question of going with them does not arise at all,” he added.
The Shiv Sena, which is expected to finish in the number two position, has also left the door open to “other” parties. The party is in a mood to take support from the NCP in case the BJP gets stuck at around 110 seats and the Sena gets around 90 seats.
“There is no permanent enemy in politics. In Maharashtra, all parties contested the election for their principles,” Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said. When asked whether the party was open to take support from the NCP or the Congress, he replied, “You can think so.”
According to a Shiv Sena leader, the party can form a government with the NCP and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), with the Congress backing it from outside. NCP leader Praful Patel too has said that his party will play an important role in government formation Congress spokesperson Anant Gadgil too indicated that the party could give outside support to the Shiv Sena-NCP Government to keep the “communal” BJP at bay. “The BJP is surrounded by many other communal organisations such as the RSS, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal. It is not the case with the Shiv Sena. If the Shiv Sena can give up its Hindutva, we will welcome it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the BJP’s junior alliance partner, the Republican Party of India (RPI) has got a written assurance from the party that it will be given a share of spoils in the power. RPI general secretary Avinash Mahatekar said, “We don’t believe in verbal assurance so we have secured the written assurance.”