Former Maharashtra minister and senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse on Thursday said whatever had been "decided" between the BJP and the Shiv Sena ahead of the assembly polls should be made public. Khadse, speaking to reporters in Jalgaon, his home district in North Maharashtra, said whatever had been "decided" between the saffron allies in the past should be made public for better understanding of the power-sharing issue. The BJP denied assembly election ticket to Khadse and instead fielded his daughter from their family seat of Muktainagar in Jalgaon district, but she lost to Shiv Sena rebel Chandrakant Patil.
"Sena leaders have been saying something was promised to them ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. In that case, whatever was decided should be brought to the forefront and discussed," said Khadse, whose critical remarks have put the BJP on the back foot on several occasions in the recent past. Asked about the tussle between the saffron allies and delay in government formation even two weeks after poll results, the veteran politician said, I am no longer senior enough to mediate between the BJP and the Sena." Khadse, once seen as No. 2 in Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's cabinet, has been largely sidelined in the state BJP. A multiple-time MLA, Khadse had resigned from the Fadnavis cabinet in June 2016 after allegations of impropriety surfaced against him in a land deal in Pune. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena leader Abdul Sattar revealed that the party was planning to send its MLAs to a resort — Hotel Rangasharda, amid alleged poaching attempts. Sena MP Sanjay Raut has dismissed such reports saying, 'There is no need for that'. This development comes after many Congress MLAs are reportedly in favour of supporting Shiv Sena to keep out the BJP from coming to power again. On the other hand, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has repeatedly ruled out a coalition with Shiv Sena saying, 'We have the mandate to sit in Opposition'. Meanwhile, BJP ally and RPI chief, Ramdas Athawale has said that BJP chief Amit Shah has no plans of interfering in the deadlock, leaving the state leaders to solve the tussle themselves.
While Shiv Sena has reiterated that it will accept only the 50:50 formula, BJP has denied of ever having agreed to such a formula reportedly offering 13 cabinet portfolios to Sena while keeping 26 for its ministers. Apart from Sena's portfolio demand, the party has demanded a sharing of 2.5 years in the CM post too ; this has been refused by CM Devendra Fadnavis, stating, 'The next govt will be formed under a BJP CM.' With no respite to the deadlock, Sena has been eyeing to gain support of the NCP-Congress alliance. The BJP too has been gaining Independent MLAs support to fortify its position.
The saffron alliance swept Maharashtra on October 24, winning a combined tally of 161 (BJP- 105, Sena -56) to award CM Devendra Fadnavis a second term. But the comeback of the 'Maha- Agadhi' alliance (NCP-Congress) took the Mahayuti by surprise as the NCP bagged 54 seats while the languishing Congress too bagged 44 seats. Though the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will form the next government, it was handed a diminished mandate compared to 2014 where it won 185 seats.