Amit Shah Breaks Silence on Maharashtra Impasse, Says Shiv Sena's New Demands Not Acceptable to BJP

File photo of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

File photo of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Reacting to the Sena's statement that it was not given enough time to prove its majority in the House, Shah said political parties in Maharashtra were given 18 days before central rule was imposed.

New Delhi: BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday said no one had earlier raised objections when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he had publicly projected Devendra Fadnavis as the party’s chief ministerial face in Maharashtra were the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance to win the Assembly elections.

“Before elections, the Prime Minister and I said many times in public that if our alliance wins, then Devendra Fadnavis will be the chief minister,” the Union Home Minister told news agency ANI in an interview. “No one objected back then. Now they have come up with new demands, which are not acceptable to us.”

In his first comments on the political crisis in the state, Shah said he was not in favour of mid-term elections and noted that all parties have six months to stake claim to form government if they manage a majority.

In his statement and following tweets, Shah rejected Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's claims that the BJP had agreed to share the chief minister's post with the ally, saying PM Modi many times and he "at least 100 times" had said in public during the Assembly elections campaign that Fadnavis will again head the government if the alliance gets a majority.

The Sena then never questioned their assertions but has now put forth demands that are unacceptable to the BJP, Shah said. "We got people's mandate but now our ally has made demands, which are unacceptable to us," he said.

But Shah did not disclose the details of the agreement between the two allies, saying it is not the values of the BJP to bring to public what has been discussed in private.

The state has been in political limbo since the results of the Assembly elections were announced on October 24 -- the BJP won 105 seats and its ally won 56. Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won 54 and the Congress 48 in the 288-member House. The BJP was unable to touch the halfway-mark on its own.

The Sena snapped ties with its ally after its demands for a rotational chief ministerial post were rejected, with Fadnavis stating no such agreement had been in place before the elections. Saying that he had been “hurt” and his family branded “a liar”, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray parting ways with the BJP.

President's rule was imposed in the state on Tuesday after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari sent a report to the Centre, stating that the formation of a stable government was impossible in the current situation despite all his efforts. Koshyari had invited the three largest political parties — the BJP, Sena and the NCP — to put forth their claim to form the government, but all three had expressed their inability.

Reacting to the Sena’s statement that it was not given enough time to prove its majority in the House, Shah said political parties in Maharashtra were given 18 days before central rule was imposed.

“The Governor invited parties only after the Assembly tenure ended. Neither the Shiv Sena nor the Congress-NCP staked claim and neither did we. Even if today any party has the numbers, it can approach the Governor,” said Shah.

The Sena, which had sought more time from the Governor to prove its majority, had rued that while the BJP was given "15 days" to form the government, the regional party had got merely 24 hours.

Shah accused the opposition of doing "outright politics" over the Centre's decision to impose President's Rule, maintaining that any party can even now stake claim before the Governor to form a new government in the state if it has a majority. He said it is unhealthy to drag a constitutional office (of the Governor) into politics in such a manner.

In a series of tweets in Hindi, Shah reiterated that no party was able to prove a majority even after 18 days had passed after the announcement of the election results. He said President's Rule was necessitated so that the opposition could not accuse the Governor of running an "indirect BJP rule" in the state, adding that everybody now has six months to meet the Governor to stake a claim if they have a majority.

In a separate tweet posted by the BJP, Shah said he is not in favour of mid-term polls in the state.

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