NEW DELHI: Ramdas Athawale, a BJP ally in Maharashtra and Union minister, on Friday said the saffron party's leadership should have agreed to the Shiv Sena's demand of the chief minister's post for two-and-a-half years so that power would not have slipped out from their hands.
The Republican Party of India (RPI-A) leader's remarks come in the wake of the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Shiv Sena inching towards sealing a deal on forming an alliance government in the state.
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The state has been facing a political crisis after the Sena broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after the latter declined to share the chief minister's post.
"Shiv Sena had repeatedly asked for the chief minister's post for two-and-a-half-years, but the BJP said that there had been no such agreement earlier on this and it had 120 MLAs. In such a situation, the Sena has joined hands with the Congress and NCP. With the alliance of the three parties, the door for power has opened for them," Athawale said.
"The BJP delayed things. If they would have accepted the Shiv Sena's proposal and Devendra Fadnavis would have become the chief minister for two-and-a-half years, their friendship would have continued," he said.
But the BJP thought that the Congress will not support the Sena and they would come back to the alliance and did not act, the minister of state for social justice and empowerment said.
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Asked if the BJP should have accepted the Sena's demand of having the CM post for two-and-a-half years, Athawale said, "Instead of allowing power to slip out of its hand, if the BJP would have agreed, the Sena would not have left the alliance.
If the Sena was not listening, the BJP should have agreed.
"The step Uddhav Thackeray has taken is against the ideology of Balasaheb Thackeray, he said, adding that the Congress also stands to lose. He also said that it was doubtful if the Sena-NCP-Congress government will last the full five years as they are ideologically different.
"In my personal opinion, the Congress should also ask for the CM post for one-and-a-half years, NCP should also get one-and-a-half years and Sena should get two years," he said.