As the Maha Vikas Aghadi government completes one year in office, the Shiv Sena for first time has revealed that it had never thought about an alliance with the Congress until the day of the results. The party also said the alliance was possible because the BJP believed “it was impossible for the Sena to team up with Congress”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said when the results started trickling in, it came as a disappointment to the Sena. “The numbers were a disappointment for us but we were determined to get the chief ministerial post,” he said.
Raut said he spoke to party chief Uddhav Thackeray on the morning of the results but even then, they did not discuss anything about an alliance with the Congress or the NCP. “We spoke about the possibility of the chief ministerial post. We thought that since the BJP had more numbers, it will be reluctant to hand over the chief ministerial post to us,” he said.
Raut said he then met NCP chief Sharad Pawar in the afternoon and discussed the possibility of an alliance. “Pawar said he will have to speak to the Congress,” Raut said. Raut said the same afternoon Thackeray held a press conference and declared that all options were open.
By evening, senior Congress leader and former CM, Prithviraj Chavan, also said that anything was possible. Chavan, while speaking to The Indian Express on the evening of the counting of votes, said a big announcement was possible next week.
Raut said after his meeting with Pawar, Thackeray spoke to state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat. “I too spoke to another Congress leader Rajiv Satav, who is close to Rahul Gandhi. Satav spoke to Rahul and said he was positive about it,” Raut said.
“We had never though about Congress due to our ideological differences. The thought came to mind only on the day of counting when the results went against us and we knew how possessive BJP was about the chief ministerial post,” the Sena MP said.
Raut said the BJP took Sena for granted. “I think they didn’t give even a slightest thought to the possibility of a Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP tie up.”
He added that the Congress took its time to arrive at a decision, but finally it happened. Raut, however, denied the rumours that Rahul Gandhi was not keen on an alliance with Sena. “There were a number of phone calls between Rahul, Sonia Gandhi with Uddhavji…They were positive about an alliance,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines