NEW DELHI: Devendra Fadnavis, who was elected BJP’s Maharashtra legislature party leader on Wednesday, will slug it out with the Shiv Sena on the terms for government formation in the state. BJP chief Amit Shah is learnt to have deputed his key aides to advise Fadnavis during negotiations with the Sena leadership, with the party eyeing to hold on to key portfolios.
With the Congress-NCP reiterating that they would respect the mandate and sit in the Opposition, the BJP appears to have toughened its stand. It’s also apparently not ready to accept the Shiv Sena’s attempts to draw a parallel with Haryana, where the party yielded the deputy chief minister’s post to Dushyant Chautala of JJP.
Having drawn the red-line on the Sena’s insistence on rotational chief ministership, the BJP is growing cold to the idea of even the post of deputy CM going to the Maharashtra ally. “Fadnavis will deal with the Shiv Sena. He had dealt with them for five years after becoming CM and will do so even now. There’s no offer of the deputy CM’s post to the Shiv Sena,” said a senior BJP functionary.
Party leaders in the national capital feel the power play in Maharashtra can go on for about a week at the most. “Why did they agree to contest 124 seats when the BJP contested on 164? The 50:50 formula wasn’t applicable in seat allocation. So, how can it apply in government formation?” added the leader.
BJP leaders claimed that the Sena’s posturing after polls was essentially to stake claim to key portfolios. “In the first term of the NDA government, key portfolios including home, finance, urban development, PWD, revenue were all with BJP ministers,” said another BJP functionary.
When Fadnavis, after being elected by BJP MLAs as their leader, said "no one should have any doubt that the next government will be that of Mahayuti", even Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, in an apparent climbdown, talked of "keeping the ‘Yuti’ (alliance) intact in Maharashtra’s interest".The Sena will elect its legislature party leader on Thursday.