The rift between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena on power-sharing related to government formation widened on Friday with Uddhav Thackeray accusing its ally of speaking "lies" and the BJP saying it was shocked over his remarks earlier that "all options are open". Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari on Friday and tendered resignation almost a fortnight after the results were declared of assembly polls. The Governor asked Fadnavis to continue as "acting chief minister" till alternate arrangements are made. The term of the previous assembly will end on November 9.
While Fadnavis took potshots at Thackeray at a press conference, the Shiv Sena leader launched a strong attack on BJP and Fadnavis. "I had promised Balasaheb that there will be a Shiv Sena Chief Minister one day, and I will fulfil that promise, I don't need Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis for that," Thackeray said. Making it clear that there will be no compromise on the issue of chief ministership, Thackeray indicated that his party will be open to seeking the support of NCP and Congress to form the government if the BJP fails in the task.
The two parties had fought the polls together with the BJP winning 105 seats and Shiv Sena 56. Shiv Sena has been insisting on a 50:50 power-sharing formula but Fadnavis has said there was no promise of a rotational chief minister. "I again want to make it clear that it was never decided that for two-and-a-half years each the CM post will be shared. There was never a decision on this issue. When I asked (BJP chief) Amit Shahji about this, he said Shiv Sena gave the proposal but the decision was not taken on it," Fadnavis said. He also said that BJP was shocked over Uddhav Thackeray's remarks that "all options were open" for government formation and that the party's ally had made up its mind to go with NCP after poll results were out.
Thackeray said the doors were never closed for discussion. "They (BJP) lied to us so we did not talk to them. We have not yet held talks with the NCP," he said. Thackeray made several direct and indirect attacks at the BJP."It is very sad that while cleaning the Ganga their minds became polluted. I felt bad that we entered into an alliance with the wrong people," he said. He said Shiv Sena worked for the people when it was in the government. "It is for the first time that someone levelled false allegations against Thackeray family. I am upset that Shiv Sena and Thackeray's family has been accused of lying. We never said anything about PM Modi," he said. "We don't need any certificate from anyone. I can't go in front of people as a liar son of Balasaheb. That's why I will do whatever I feel right. We accepted 124 seats as hand out," he said.
Targeting BJP, he also said that "Hindutva can be the truth and not lies". On his part, Fadnavis said that Shiv Sena has repeatedly given many statements against BJP leaders and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Fadnavis held Shiv Sena responsible for the delay in government formation. "From the very first day, the Shiv Sena is 100 per cent responsible. They called off the talks. After that, we continuously tried to have a discussion. They never picked up our phone. I myself made many calls but they never answered," he said.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari also said there was no promise made by BJP on the 50-50 formula. Congress, which will have a key role in government formation if differences between Sena and BJP remain unresolved, said the party was watching the situation. "We will wait and watch." Maharashtra unit chief Balasaheb Thorat said. Congress has 44 MLAs while its ally NCP has 54 legislators in 288-member assembly. Constitutional experts said that a caretaker is normally in office for a short time but the duration of the tenure is not stipulated. They also said that President's Rule is normally the last option exercised if there is no possibility of the formation of government in the given situation.
(with ANI inputs)