New Delhi: In a dramatic turn of events in the ongoing power tussle between allies BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, reports emerged on Friday of talks between Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) counterpart Sharad Pawar, on Thursday.
The conversation reportedly took place after the Sena chief called on party leader Sanjay Raut’s phone during the latter’s ‘courtesy meet‘ with the NCP chief Thursday night. The possible development comes even as the NCP has repeatedly emphasised that it would sit on the Opposition benches as that is the mandate given to it by the voters.
Pawar will visit Delhi on November 5 to meet interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who also held a meet of Maharashtra Congress leaders on Friday.
The Congress has repeatedly said that it would ‘consider an offer‘ from the Sena on government formation in the state.
Since October 24, when the result of October 21 Maharashtra Assembly Election was announced, the Sena has been adamant that the BJP fulfil the ’50-50 formula’ agreed between the two sides while negotiating alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. The said formula, if implemented, will see both parties have their respective Chief Ministers for a term of 2.5 years each.
While the BJP elected incumbent Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as its legislative party leader on October 30, the Sena, in a surprising move, elected Eknath Shinde, and not Thackeray family scion Aaditya, who won from Worli in his debut polls, as the leader of its legislative party.
There have also been talks of a ‘13-26 formula‘, under which the Sena gets the Deputy Chief Minister’s post along with several major portfolios, while the BJP gets the Chief Minister’s post and the heavyweight portfolios.
The BJP-Sena alliance won 161 seats in the 288-seat Assembly, 24 less than their combined tally in 2014 state polls. Of this, the BJP won 105 seats out of 160 it contested while its ‘little brother’ won 56 seats out of 124 that it contested.
The NCP-Congress combine, meanwhile, won 98 seats of which 54 were won by the former while the latter won the remaining 44.