Raut also said that party president Uddhav Thackeray had said that the chief minister would be from the Shiv Sena.
Mumbai: Even as Shiv Sena on Friday issued a veiled threat to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that it could form the next Maharashtra government on its own, the latter remained confident that Devendra Fadnavis will take oath as chief minister before November 7. Senior BJP leader and state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told The Asian Age that the allies will form the next government together.
“Our talks with the Shiv Sena are on. The final decision on government formation will be reached soon, and ministers will be sworn in on November 6 or 7,” Mr Mungantiwar said.
The Shiv Sena, on the other hand, has hardened its stand on the implementation of the 50-50 power-sharing formula — which includes the CM’s post coming to it for 2.5 years — that it claims the BJP had agreed to.
Mr Mungantiwar, however, maintained that Mr Fadnavis would be back as chief minister. “We are confident that we will convince our alliance partner. We have done that in the past and we will do so this time also,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of President’s Rule being imposed in Maharashtra if no government is formed before November 7, the minister replied, “There is no question of President’s Rule.”
Earlier, Shiv Sena upped the ante with its spokesperson Sanjay Raut stating that if his party decides, it would get the required numbers to form a stable government in Maharashtra without the BJP.
In the 288-member House, the Shiv Sena has 56 MLAs and the party also has the support of seven Independent MLAs. If the Sena joins forces with the NCP and Congress — which have 98 MLAs between them — they can easily cross the magic mark of 145.
Mr Raut also said that party president Uddhav Thackeray had said that the chief minister would be from the Shiv Sena. “If we have to, we will prove our majority on the floor of the House. We can declare in writing that the chief minister will be from Shiv Sena. Those who do not have a clear majority should not attempt to form the government or they will fall flat on their face,” Mr Raut said.
“The people want a chief minister from the Shiv Sena. The 50-50 formula, which was decided before the public, should be implemented in the state. Shiv Sena and BJP should together run the government. This is the people’s mandate. But if they refuse to accept this, we cannot have any discussions with the BJP,” the Sena MP added.
In an apparent reference to the BJP’s top leadership, Mr Raut also tweeted, “Sahib, mat paliye ahankar ko itna, waqt ke sagar me kai Sinkandar doob gaye.” (Boss, don’t nurture your arrogance. Many Alexanders have drowned in the ocean of time.)
Mr Raut had, on Thursday, met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at the latter’s residence in Mumbai. However, he refused to divulge what transpired at the meeting, spurring speculation that the Sena was exploring the option of forming the government with the NCP and Congress’ support.
The Opposition parties, however, have reiterated that they would rather sit in the Opposition but were also prepared to work on “alternatives” if the BJP fails to form the government.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “We will prevent the imposition of President’s Rule by Delhi. We will try to provide an alternate elected government.”
BJP sources said that if their party fails to convince its ally soon, the party will approach Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to stake claim to form the government alone.
There were also media reports that the BJP is in the process of booking Wankhede Stadium for Mr Fadnavis’ swearing-in ceremony. However, BJP leader Prasad Lad said, “Till date, we have not booked any venue for the ceremony.”