Sena set for hard bargain with BJP over govt formation, CM post

Maharashtra Assembly elections, Maharashtra Assembly Polls, BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, Aaditya Thackeray, Uddhav Thackeray,
Photo: PTI

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday (October 24) reminded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of the 50:50 deal agreed by the two parties during their pre-poll alliance meeting. He said that the BJP must not take for granted the formation of government in Maharashtra.

In his first reaction after the Assembly election results were announced on Thursday, the Sena boss said that the alliance’s government formation is subjected to discussion between the two parties, indicating that he would drive a hard bargain in talks with the ally BJP.

It may be noted that despite the 50:50 deal, the BJP had fielded 164 candidates as against Sena’s 124. “We agreed to contest fewer seats (than the BJP), but I cannot accommodate the BJP every time. I should allow my party to grow,” Thackeray said.

Also read | BJP-Sena to form Maharashtra govt, will stick to 50-50 formula: Raut

After the election results were announced, the BJP emerged as the single largest party with leads in at least 101 seats and Sena in 57 of the total 288 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly. While the two parties can form the government comfortably, the BJP fell short of its target of reaching near the half-way mark on its own, giving more leverage to the Sena.

Asked by reporters which party will get the chief minister’s post, Thackeray was quoted as saying, “It is time to remind the BJP about the formula arrived at when BJP chief Amit Shah visited my home….we had decided on 50-50 formula for the alliance.”

Describing the mandate as an “eye-opener for many”, Thackeray said the people of the state had kept democracy alive. “Now nobody will question EVMs,” he said, in reference to opposition Congress-NCP faring better than expected in the elections.

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“Political parties need to keep their feet on the ground. Otherwise, people show them their place,” the Sena chief added.

Earlier, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had said that his party and the BJP will form the next government in Maharashtra as per the pre-decided seat-sharing formula of ’50-50′. He had also stressed that the two parties will stick to the decided formula and ruled out the possibility of the Shiv Sena joining hands with the opposition parties.

“We fought the polls in alliance with the BJP. We will go ahead with the tie-up. There will be no change in the pre-decided 50-50 formula,” Raut said. He said Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will hold talks on implementing the formula.

(With inputs from agencies)