New Delhi: As soon Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant announced his decision to step down from Union Cabinet, party leader Sanjay Raut hinted at severing ties with oldest ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “If they are not willing to keep their promise (on the 50-50 formula), is there any relation left? asked Raut while addressing a press conference today. Notably, Raut’s comments assume significance as he is considered a close confidante of Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.

Meanwhile, Raut also confirmed that Arvind Sawant has resigned from Modi cabinet on directions of party president Uddhav Thackeray. “In view of the recent developments and the objectionable statements made by the Bharatiya Janata Party, its clear they want to keep us away from power. So what’s the point in continuing with the NDA?” Raut asked.

Upping the ante against the ruling party further, the Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP stated that it was their ego to say they can’t form the government. “The BJP said yesterday that they can form government. This is their ego. It’s an insult to the people of Maharashtra”, Raut asserted.

He also hinted at forming an alliance with Congress-NCP saying,”We have taken the first step… It is upto them now to take a suitable measures to form the government based on a common minimum programme acceptable to all sides.”

When asked about contradictory ideologies of the parties (Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena), Raut cited the example of BJP and PDP that come together to form government in Jammu and Kashmir despite their differences.

“When the BJP could tie-up with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to form government in the then Jammu and Kashmir state, why the Sena cannot do the same with the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra. Should we call the BJP’s association with PDP as ‘love jihad’? Raut stated.

Meanwhile, a crucial meeting of Congress leaders is underway at party president Sonia Gandhi’s residence. On the other hand, the Sena, which is the second-largest party in the 288-member House with 56 MLAs after the BJP (105), has time till 7.30 pm on Monday to stake claim to form government.

Earlier on Sunday, governor BS Koshyari had asked the saffron party to indicate “willingness and ability” to form government in the state. BS Koshyari’s invitation to Sena came after the BJP refused his proposal on the matter.