Hours before the term of the current Maharshtra Assembly ends, wrangling alliance partners BJP and Shiv Sena engaged in a showdown again, accusing each other for the delay in government formation even as the Uddhav Thackeray-led party refused to blink on its demand for sharing the chief minister’s post.
Minutes after Devendra Fadnavis submitted his resignation as Maharashtra Chief Minister and launched a scathing attack on its cantankerous ally, accusing Shiv Sena of using objectionable language against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and non-cooperation on power-sharing talks, Uddhav Thackeray gave a point-by-point rebuttal to the charges at a press conference.
Here is how BJP and Shiv Sena put forward their arguments:
Remarks on PM Modi and Amit Shah
Devendra Fadnavis: Why should we talk to a party which has stopped so low? Shiv Sena has in the last five years and last 15 days used the kind of language which was not expected of an alliance partner. Not only did it attack our party consistently through its newspaper and speeches, but it did not even spare Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose leadership has been recognised worldwide.
Uddhav Thackeray: I have never criticised Narendra Modi. You took Udayan Raje (NCP turncoat who contested the Satara Lok Sabha bypoll and lost) in the party. You should check what he has had said about the PM. How is that acceptable to you.
On sharing chief minister post
Fadnavis: In my presence, we had taken no decision on sharing CM’s post for 2.5 years. I even confirmed with party president Amit Shah. He said Uddhavji had given such a proposal, but no decision was taken regarding giving CM’s post for 2.5 years.
Thackeray: Was saddened that for the first time a member of the Thackeray family was portrayed as a liar. Fadnavis and Shah had come to me. They had said that Sena will get deputy CM’s post. I had declined the offer. Shah called me the next day and asked what I wanted. I told them I wanted equitable share in the CM post. He had agreed to it. Fadnavis had requested me that the decision of sharing the CM post should not be made public as it would create problems for him within the party.
On Sena hobnobbing with NCP and Congress
Fadnavis: They did not have time for us but had time for the Congress-NCP against whom we had sought votes and come to power.
Thackeray: The BJP should stake claim to power. We have other options open before us. The decision about the alliance now rests with the BJP. Have not spoken to Congress or NCP so far.
On talks between BJP and Shiv Sena
Fadnavis: They have taken a decision not to hold discussions..I called Uddhav ji several times, but he did not take the call. We had not stopped the discussions.
Thackeray: I was happy under the belief that two Hindutva espousing parties had come together. However their hearts have darkened now. I regret joining hands with such people. I will not speak to people who have painted me as a liar.
On Maharshtra govt formation
Fadnavis: Shiv Sena will not manage to form a government in this way. BJP wants to form an alliance, not break it. The BJP will form a government with its chief minister.
Thackeray: When Fadnavis says that the next government will be of the BJP, I have a doubt on how they will do so with only 105 seats in the Assembly.