Adding to the BJP-Sena tussle to form the next Maharashtra government, the Congress has yet again on Thursday, sent out feelers to the Shiv Sena to ally with itself. Speaking to reporters, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Husain Dalwai has said that the 'Sena has always helped the Congress'. He added that inspite of principle differences, the Congress is ready to ally with the Sena to sideline BJP. He added that the Sena is better matched than the BJP with the Congress.
"Their proposal should come (on an alliance). I have said it openly if BJP has to be sidelined, we will think in this way because Shiv Sena has always helped Congress. They helped us during Indiraji's time, Antulay's time and when Pratibha Tai was fighting the presidential elections. Our principles are different but their (Sena)'s way of thinking is better than BJP," he said.
These developments come just as Eknath Shinde has been elected as the leader of the Shiv Sena legislative party and a 5-member Shiv Sena delegation is set to meet the governor at 6:15 PM on Thursday. Meanwhile, Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut has reiterated that the Sena will accept only the 50:50 formula, as 7 more Independent MLAs extended their support to Sena on Wednesday. Shiv Sena Supremo Uddhav Thackeray too had echoed similar sentiments at the Sena MLAs meeting on Wednesday, amid growing calls for Worli MLA Aaditya Thackeray to become the next CM.
Previously on Tuesday, in direct contradiction to its Maharashtra ally NCP, senior Congress leader, and former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, on Tuesday, has suggested a probable alliance with Shiv Sena, according to ANI. The former CM said that while Shiv Sena has not approached the grand old party yet, he said that if such a proposal is made, it will be discussed by the High Command and Congress allies. This statement by Chavan comes in direct contradiction to NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar's statement on Friday, has confirmed that his party would sit in the opposition in the Maharashtra assembly, ruling out any alliance with the Shiv Sena (SS).
After being elected as leader of Maharashtra BJP legislative party, CM Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday credited Shiv Sena Supremo Uddhav Thackeray for the Assembly win, while speaking inside the Vidhan Sabha. Sources report that the Chief Minister has reaffirmed that the BJP-Shiv Sena 'Mahayuti' will form the government in Maharashtra and has asked people to not believe rumours stating otherwise. Earlier in the day, sources had reported that BJP has proposed a 13-26 formula to Shiv Sena, giving 13 portfolios to Sena MLAs and keeping 26 for BJP MLAs. Earlier on Saturday, Shiv Sena issued an ultimatum to BJP stating that party chief Amit Shah and CM Devendra Fadnavis should issue a written statement assuring that the CM post will be shared equally for 2.5 years each. Sources report that BJP president Amit Shah is set to visit Mumbai on Friday or Saturday to discuss the final decision on the formation of the new government and the portfolio sharing between the saffron allies.
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.