EVEN as ally Shiv Sena began twisting the knife into the BJP a day after the results, Devendra Fadnavis said that all issues related to the coalition will be amicably resolved but acknowledged that his party’s performance was below expectations.
The BJP won 105 seats and the Shiv Sena 56. Indicating that this was below his hope to cross the halfway mark, Fadnavis invoked the example of a hardworking student. “We prepared for merit (an entry in the top-ranking list). But ended with first class results,” he said.
Fadnavis claimed that at least 15 rebel/Independents who won had offered to return. “Many candidates who in a huff of anger — after they were denied tickets — contested as rebels and won have (now) said they are willing to support the BJP-led government. Their unconditional support will be solicited,” Fadnavis said. And the party kept these names close to its chest.
Both the BJP and Sena have decided to formalise the power-sharing formula after Diwali. Back-channel discussions are veering around a few key decisions: Fadnavis will remain Chief Minister; swearing-in is likely on October 31 and with Home staying with the CM, the BJP may have to concede the powerful Revenue Ministry to the Sena.
That the CM will be from the BJP has its origin in a formula decided way back in 1995 that the post should go to the party with higher number of seats. And unlike in 1995, where Sena and BJP’s numbers were very close, Thursday’s results have clearly given the BJP a clear lead.
Officially, however, both sides kept details under wraps.
For his part, Fadnavis said: “Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and myself have exchanged greetings post results. We will sort out everything which relates to each party’s aspirations and concerns. Both sides understand that. The people’s mandate is for the pre-poll alliance of Shiv Sena and BJP. Therefore, both parties are aware of their responsibilities and their accountability to the people…Our government will ensure proactive administration and greater transparency.”
Sources in the Sena said that as talks are on, one key question is: Does Aditya Thackeray want to be part of the government?
“All posts, portfolios will be determined once we narrow down to the role of Aditya Thackeray in the government or organisation,” said a Sena leader. A section within the Sena believes that Aditya Thackeray should join the government and ask for Deputy Chief Minister. This section is emboldened by the late-night development on Friday in Haryana where Jannayak Janhit Party’s Dushyant Dave pledged support to BJP’s Manohar Lal Khattar and was promised the Deputy CM job.
However, another section of leaders feel that Aditya should re-assert himself in the party organisation and gradually work for a larger role in the government midway in the new term.