MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena on Saturday dug in its heels and demanded that the power-sharing formula must be given in writing so that the BJP doesn’t renege on its promise like it allegedly did earlier. The Sena also hardened its stance about making party chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya as the Chief Minister, warning that it has “other options” to consider if the BJP doesn’t accede to its demands.
The decisions were taken after the party brass held an hour-long meeting of party legislators on Saturday.
“Earlier, the party had negotiations with BJP president Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis. A 50:50 formula was discussed back then. Sharing the CM’s post for 2.5 years was part of that plan. For us, the equal share in power and CM post are both important. Post of deputy CM 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.
The Sena has had two Chief Ministers from its ranks — Manohar Joshi and Narayan Rane — from 1995-1999. “If the BJP does not accept our demands, we have other options open for us. We are in such a position,” Sarnaik added. Both the Congress and NCP have sent out feelers that they were willing to form the government with the Sena if they move out of the alliance with the BJP. In the 288-member Assembly, the NCP now has 54 seats and the Congress 44.
While the BJP has already made it clear that all negotiations on government formation would be carried out as per the formula fixed during alliance formation before the 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,” Bhandari said.
Meanwhile, state BJP president Chandrakant Patil on Saturday said a legislative party meeting is scheduled next Wednesday, in which the leader of state legislative party would be formally elected.