MUMBAI: The BJP is not likely to go to the Shiv Sena for seeking its support to form the government in Maharashtra, where it won 122 seats in the 288-seat Assembly. Instead, the party is seriously contemplating accepting NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s offer of outside support. The BJP believes that Shiv Sena, which has reportedly put forward “unreasonable” conditions for its support, will get a new lease of life if it forms a joint government. According to a senior BJP official, the Sena has demanded one Cabinet berth and two Ministers of State berths in the Union government. Apart from this, it wants three Governor posts and distribution of Maharashtra portfolios on the lines of a formula fixed in 1995.
As per the formula, important portfolios such as Home, Finance, Education and Water Resources were reserved for the party that gets the lesser number of seats. In 1995, BJP was the party that scored less. “At the time, we had only 10 seats lesser than the Shiv Sena. This time, we have double the seats. So the 1995 formula is not applicable now. We don’t want to revive Sena at our expense,” the BJP leader said.
The party top brass is of the opinion that it would be difficult to work with the Sena in the given conditions. Election in-charge O P Mathur indicated that the BJP would not take the first step towards a patch-up. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who was elected as Legislative Party chief on Monday, too said he would not initiate a partnership.
The BJP seems to be in a mood to accept NCP’s offer, but feels it would not be able to raise the issue of corruption in the future if it joins hands with the ex-Congress ally. “We had described NCP as Naturally Corrupt Party. Though it has said that the support would be unconditional, we understand what it means,” another top BJP leader said. Some BJP strategists are planning to chalk out an amicable solution to the deadlock. They are looking at the possibility of making some NCP or Sena legislators split from their respective parties to join the BJP. “Once we prove majority on the basis of outside support by NCP, the Opposition can’t bring a no-confidence motion for at least a year. This gives us enough time to break them up,” a strategist said. The Sena, however, is optimistic that the BJP would mend fences and believes it is trying to pressure them by “pretending” to go the NCP’s way.