The Maharashtra BJP Legislature Party will meet in Mumbai on Wednesday (October 30) to elect its new leader. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to be elected as the leader of the BJP legislature party, amid demand by ally Shiv Sena for the top post on a rotational basis.
Fadnavis, who is currently the leader of the House, asserted on Tuesday (October 29) that he will be the chief minister for another five years. He also said that BJP president Amit Shah will not attend the meeting of the newly-elected BJP MLAs to pick the legislature party leader. The BJP on Tuesday named Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and party’s vice president Avinash Rai Khanna as central observers for the Maharashtra legislature party meeting.
Amid bickering between his party and the Shiv Sena over sharing of power in the next Maharashtra government, senior BJP leader Chandrakant Patil on Tuesday said Amit Shah and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will finalise the contours of the 50:50 formula. Patil, however, distanced himself from the seat-sharing agreement that Thackeray has been talking about.
“That formula was proposed ahead of the Lok Sabha elections (held earlier this year) and I am not aware of it,” said Patil, who became the state BJP president after the parliamentary poll results. According to sources in the BJP, the discussion and agreement reached with the Sena on formalising the alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha polls was on “equitable distribution of power and not on the post of the chief minister”.
Ever since the results of the October 21 Assembly polls were out, Thackeray has been claiming that the 50:50 formula on sharing of power was “agreed upon” between himself, Shah and Fadnavis ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. However, Fadnavis on Tuesday denied that the Sena was ever assured the chief minister’s post for two-and-a-half years as part of the power sharing “formula”.
The BJP won 105 seats in the Assembly polls and has been wooing 13 independents and MLAs from smaller parties to shore up its strength in the 288-member House. The Sena, which won 56 seats, is pushing for rotational chief ministership, an idea rejected by the BJP. Besides, the NCP won 54 seats and the Congress bagged 44 seats in the state polls.