MUMBAI: On the eve of the swearing-in ceremony of Maharashtra’s first-ever BJP Chief Minister, the party on Thursday attempted to push its estranged ally, the Shiv Sena into a corner by announcing that it was unlikely that the latter would be part of the state government.
Humiliated by the announcement, the Sena, which had planned a meeting to decide whether it should join the government, called it off and declared that neither its chief Uddhav Thackeray nor the party’s newly-elected members would attend the ceremony on Friday.
The drama unfolded after CM-designate Devendra Fadnavis reached Delhi to hold discussions with party chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the possibility of the Sena joining the government. Fadnavis also called on Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari before meeting Shah and Modi.
BJP general secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy gave the first hint about the party’s stand on the issue. “Talks with the Shiv Sena (are) going on very amicably. No outcome yet. Seems unlikely that the Shiva Sena will be part of government as of now,” Rudy tweeted.
Taking strong objection to Rudy’s statement, Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut announced that no member of the party would attend the swearing-in ceremony.
“We have been constantly humiliated by the BJP. It has not gone down well with our MLAs. What is the point in attending the ceremony if the MLAs feel that they have not got due respect?” he asserted. However, Raut added that the decision would be reviewed if the BJP “respectfully” invited the Sena leaders to the ceremony.
“We were supposed to meet on (Thursday)evening to discuss the issue. Now, the meeting has been called off,” he said.