Amid the impasse over the formation of a new government in Maharashtra, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday said his party will talk to the BJP only on the issue of the chief minister's post. He also claimed that Sena has 170 MLAs supporting them and that the figure can even reach 175. "The impasse continues. There is no discussion on government formation as yet. If talks happen, it will only be on the issue of the chief minister's post," Raut told reporters. The Rajya Sabha member further that Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray was in Aurangabad on Sunday to take stock of the crop losses in that district due to unseasonal rains last month.
Earlier, in his weekly column in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana', Raut likened the impasse over government formation to a "chariot stuck in the mud of arrogance". He dared the BJP to impose President's rule in the state, saying such a step would be the party's "biggest defeat of the century". His remarks came against the backdrop of the BJP's stand that it will not share the chief minister's post, and minister Sudhir Mungantiwar's comments that the state may head for President's rule if the new government is not in place by November 7.
A day after the election results were announced, Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, outside Uddhav Thackeray's residence Matoshree said that the Chief Ministerial post must be equally divided between BJP and Sena for 2.5 years each. He wanted BJP president Amit Shah to give the assurance in writing and to maintain the 50-50 formula that was sealed before polls.
When the poll result was announced on October 24, the saffron alliance swept Maharashtra, winning a combined tally of 161 (BJP- 105, Sena -56). But the 'Maha- Agadhi' alliance (NCP-Congress) made a comeback 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.