Maharashtra: BJP-Shiv Sena lock horns over portfolios, govt formation delayed

BJP-Shiv Sena
The two allies are in the midst of tough negotiations after the BJP returned a less-than-impressive performance in the Assembly polls.

With the bickering between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena over allocation of portfolios showing no signs of ending, the pace of government formation in Maharashtra has taken a beating.

On account of the irreconcilable differences between the two outfits, discussion on government formation too has been postponed to post Diwali, according to reports.

To resolve the imbroglio, BJP president Amit Shah is all set to intervene.

The two parties that contested the polls together and secured 161 seats in the 288-member assembly have been at loggerheads over who should lead the alliance. The Shiv Sena which has 56 seats in its kitty is eager to have its own man at the top. In pursuance of that, it has even floated the idea of rotating the Chief ministerial position between the partners.

The BJP with 105 MLAs is in no mood to give up its claim on the chief minister’s chair.

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Incumbent chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has also issued a veiled threat to Uddhav Thackeray by claiming the support of independent MLAs.

“15 independent MLAs have contacted me and they are ready to come with us. Others may also come but these 15 will surely come with us. Most of them are BJP or Shiv Sena rebels,” he said.

Despite the numbers not matching the strength of the Shiv Sena, Fadnavis hopes that the prospect of being left out of the cabinet may force a re-think on the part of the Sena.

In the outgoing assembly, the BJP had 122 legislators to Sena’s 63. Even though both the parties have their tallies reduced since 2014, the Shiv Sena is demanding its pound of flesh on the ground that its strike rate is much more than that of its alliance partner.

Also, the formula of 50:50 arrived at by Amit Shah and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, earlier this year, is being referred to by the regional outfit to drive a hard bargain with the BJP.

Though for the record, both the parties claim that issues between them would be resolved through negotiations, it is not going to be easy to sort out matters

“There is no confusion in government formation. BJP and Shiv Sena fought and won election in alliance. We will once again form the government. What is decided in alliance will happen,” Ashish Shelar, BJP leader and education minister, said.

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Shiv Sena, fully aware of the BJP’s dependence on it, has upped the ante.

Attempting to fish in troubled waters, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar too as weighed in by saying that there is nothing wrong in the demands put forward by the Shiv Sena.