MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena is firm on its demand for the Chief Minister’s post. This was clear after an hour-long meeting of party legislators on Saturday. While party legislators gave all powers for negotiations regarding government formation to party president Uddhav Thackeray, they also demanded that a written formula for government formation be sought from the BJP.
“Earlier the party had negotiations with BJP president Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis. A 50:50 formula was discussed back then. Sharing of the Chief Minister’s post for 2.5 years was part of that plan. For us, the equal share in power and the post of Chief Minister are both important. Post of Deputy Chief Minister is secondary. We should be able to decide if the BJP shares the formula for government formation in writing,” said Shiv Sena leader Pratap Sarnaik who is MLA from neighbouring Thane.
Sarnaik also said that, though the seat-sharing formula wasn’t executed as decided for some reasons, the party has now rested all powers regarding negotiations for government formation with Uddhav Thackeray and whatever decision he makes would be acceptable to all of them.
Sarnaik further said that it has not yet been finalized as to who will be the Shiv Sena CM candidate. However, the party has demanded that the CM’s post must be shared for 2.5 years between BJP and Shiv Sena.
The newly-elected MLAs of Shiv Sena also demanded that Aaditya Thackeray be made the chief minister in the next government. “If BJP does not accept our demands we have other options open for us. Right now we are in such a position,” Sarnaik said.
While the BJP has already made it clear that all the negotiations regarding government formation would be carried out as per the formula fixed during alliance formation before Lok Sabha elections, state BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari declined to comment on the latest development.
"We don't conduct negotiations through media. The leaders entrusted with negotiations would convey the party's viewpoints at an appropriate time," he said.
Both Congress and NCP have sent out feelers that they are willing to form the government with Shiv Sena if they move out of the alliance with BJP.
The results of recently concluded polls saw the ruling BJP losing 17 seats from its previous tally of 122, a development that has increased the bargaining power of Shiv Sena whose tally too came down to 56 seats from the 63 in 2014.
In the 288-member Assembly, the NCP now has 54 seats and the Congress 44.
BJP to finalize legislative leader on Oct 30
Meanwhile, state BJP president Chandrakant Patil on Saturday said that a meeting of legislative party meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 30, where the leader of state legislative party would be formally elected.
The meeting will be held at Vidhan Bhavan, the state legislative complex, at 1 pm, Patil added.
It is expected that the process of government formation will speed up once BJP legislature leader is finalized.