BY ANINDYA BANERJEE
New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) In the backdrop of the tussle between the BJP and Shiv Sena over the CM’s post, the BJP elected former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis as the leader of the legislature party on Wednesday.
The BJP legislature party met in Mumbai on Wednesday afternoon, a day after Fadnavis asserted that he would be the chief minister for the next five years, without giving out details on how the BJP will form the government. However, soon after his election, Fadnavis asserted, the mandate is for “grand alliance” of Sena-BJP and the two will form the government.
But Tuesday was marked with day-long exchange of rhetoric and counter-rhetoric between the two parties. First, Sena leader Sanjay Raut alleged the BJP was “stooping low”. Then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis issued a statement rejecting Shiv Sena’s claim of 50-50 formula, which they have been adamant about.
Later on Tuesday evening, Shiv Sena cancelled its meeting with the BJP leadership, including close aide of Amit Shah, Bhupendra Yadav, to iron out differences.
Even after five days of the Maharashtra Assembly results, the BJP-Shiv Sena combine failed to stake its claim to form the government, with Sena flaunting “other options” and BJP claiming Sena MLAs who are ready to come on board with BJP.
To appease Shiv Sena, the BJP may offer to increase its share in the state and the Centre. Giving two ministerial posts in the Union cabinet to Sena is being actively explored. If Sena agrees to it, an immediate Union cabinet expansion may take place, soon after the oath-taking ceremony in Maharashtra.
The BJP is also willing to give the Deputy Chief Minister’s post in the state to Sena. A state party leader told IANS requesting anonymity that the BJP knew they would have to offer a Deputy CM’s post to Sena, when the BJP tally couldn’t cross 120, as predicted by the party. “From the result day, we were clear that we are offering a Deputy CM’s post to the Sena”, said the BJP leader based in Mumbai.
As much as 40% share in the state cabinet is also likely to be offered by BJP to its warring partner, who is leaving no stone unturned, including using editorials in its mouthpiece Saamna, to target BJP. This will be a major climbdown by the saffron party.
This bouquet of three offers is what the BJP is likely to offer to Sena, as the two sit across the negotiating table to end the post-result drama. But one thing at least three BJP leaders have stressed while speaking to IANS is that there will be no sharing of the Chief Minister’s post, come what may.