The Shiv Sena has decided to meet Maharashtra Governor Monday evening to discuss the current political situation emerging out of the face-off between the two saffron parties in the state. The party, however, has denied that it will stake claim to form the government but will apprise the governor of its stand.
At a press conference on Monday, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the Sena will not stake the claim but want the governor to invite the single-largest party, the BJP, to form the government. “And if the BJP fails to prove its majority, the Sena will then prove a majority. We will pass the ‘agnipariksha’ on the floor of the House,” said Raut, adding that they will clear their stand to the governor during the meeting.
Stating that the Sena has the numbers to prove a majority, Raut said BJP has 105 MLAs, but the Sena has the support of 170 MLAs. “We have 56 elected MLAs and support of 7 independent MLAs and have the support of 170 MLAs….Therefore, we are in a position to prove a majority.”
Raut said there would be no compromise on their demand for chief minister’s post for two and a half years. “As decided before Lok Sabha polls between BJP chief Amit Shah, CM Devendra Fadnavis and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Sena is firm on their demand for the chief minister’s post for the first 2.5 years,” he said, adding that the BJP has refused to live up to its promise.
Denying that there was any backchannel negotiations going on between BJP and Sena, Raut said, “We have decided that next Chief Minister of Maharashtra will be from Shiv Sena…We don’t want any ministry, BJP can take all the ministries but we want the Chief Minister’s post.”
Raut said the Sena was confident of smoothly running the government for five years.
Confirming that he has met NCP Sharad Pawar and sought his advise, Raut said, “When Modi can seek Pawar’s advise, why can’t the Sena do the same?” he said, adding that the Sena “will see what to do with the temple issue.”
Refusing to open up about getting support from Congress and NCP, Raut cited the example of BJP’s tie-up with Nitish Kumar in Bihar despite both having different ideologies. He accepted that he had sent a text message to NCP leader Ajit Pawar and discussed the political situation with him.
Praising Sharad Pawar, Raut said,”Pawar had the capability of becoming the Prime Minister of the nation, but certain things conspired against him and therefore he could not occupy the highest position.”
Asked about the possibility of Nitin Gadkari becoming the next chief minister of Maharashtra, Raut said it was an internal matter of BJP.