MUMBAI: Well aware of its enhanced role in Maharashtra politics, the Shiv Sena, on Friday, appeared to have adopted a wait and watch policy, as the party leadership is said to be exploring various possibilities of government formation.
Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP and editor of party mouthpiece Saamana, Sanjay Raut, tweeted a cartoon on Friday morning that depicted the party’s perception of its enhanced role in state politics. The cartoon, that shows a tiger (Shiv Sena's party symbol) wearing a clock locket (NCP's party symbol) sniffing a lotus (BJP's party symbol), is captioned “bura na maano Diwali hai” to denote it was made in jest.
Former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, on Thursday, had suggested Sena, NCP and Congress must join hands to prevent BJP from retaining power in Maharashtra. Raut, last night, had himself said that such a thing is unlikely to happen, and yet releasing a cartoon on Friday morning is being interpreted to suggest that the party is exploring a multiplicity of options.
On Friday morning, Yuva Sena also put up posters in Worli to congratulate its chief Aaditya Thackeray on his maiden victory in the assembly election. The posters mentioned him as the “Future Chief Minister of Maharashtra” indicating the pressure on Shiv Sena from within to take the option to have the heir apparent in the seat of Chief Minister.
While the state BJP core committee met at CM Devendra Fadnavis’ official residence Varsha on Thursday night, party sources also said that president Amit Shah spoke to Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Friday morning. Though the details of the meeting, as well as the conversation, couldn’t be known, sources have revealed that the series of meetings for government formation will start Tuesday onwards i.e. post Diwali vacations after October 29.
The Shiv Sena has invited a meeting of all the newly-elected MLAs in Mumbai on Saturday. However, the issues related to government formation are unlikely to be decided at the meeting, said party insiders.
According to a senior party leader, the deliberations within the Sena are currently revolving around two options viz. to stay with BJP and increase stake in the government and to make Aaditya the CM with the help of Congress and NCP. However, the party also needs to explore the possibility where BJP alone goes ahead with formation of a minority government as it had done in 2014, the leader said.
The Congress and the NCP also made it clear on Friday that the Shiv Sena needs to make the first move, if it is exploring the option of forming a government with them.
“BJP-Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP had gone before in alliance and the people have given a mandate to the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance to run the government. We shall intervene only if the two parties fail to form the government. We shall have to wait for that,” said NCP General Secretary and spokesperson Nawab Malik.
State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat, on the other hand, conceded, “People have given us a verdict to play a role of a responsible opposition and we shall do that for the next five years.”
In the 288-member Assembly, the BJP won 105 seats, while ally Sena bagged 56. The NCP bagged 54 seats and the Congress emerged victorious in 44 seats.
In the 2014 polls, the BJP had won 122 seats, the Sena 63, the Congress 42 and the NCP 41.