Mumbai: In yet another sign of strained relations between the BJP and Shiv Sena, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party on Thursday accused its Maharashtra ally of trying of poach MLAs as the deadline nears for government formation in the state. In an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana, the party said it had been receiving complaints about new MLAs being approached with money. However, it expressed confidence that the MLAs “won't break away”.
The tenure of the current Assembly ends in two days and a special three-day session of the House may be convened next week to swear in the new MLAs, said sources. A resolution to the BJP-Sena stalemate over government formation is expected and a new dispensation may take office before the term of the outgoing Assembly ends, they added.
Wading into the battle, the Congress accused the BJP of being “morally corrupt”. “Shivsena is an alliance partner of @BJP4India and part of #Mahayuti… If it feels scared that #BJP will poach their MLAs, then we can very well understand how much #BJP is morally corrupt and why we must save Maharashtra from them. Does #Mahayuti hv moral rights to form govt now?” asked leader Sachin Sawant.
Sena’s allegations come on a day when the BJP is scheduled to meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari "with a message approved by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis”, senior leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said.
However, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, whose party has refused to give up its claim on the post of the rotational chief minister, said his party chief Uddhav Thackeray is yet to get any proposal from the BJP.
The BJP and the Sena are locked in a standoff over the post of chief minister in new government and sharing of ministerial portfolios.
In the recent Assembly polls, the BJP emerged as the single-largest party by winning 105 seats in the 288-member House. The Sena won 56.
Claiming that the BJP had agreed to a "50-50" formula on power-sharing in the state, the Sena has demanded that the top seat be shared between the two.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said the mandate for his party and its ally Congress is to sit in the opposition. It is for the BJP-Sena to form the government, he added.
Pawar asked the haggling allies to form the government at the earliest, asserting his party and the Congress will work as a "responsible opposition".
Addressing a press conference here after meeting Raut, Pawar ruled out joining the Sena in government with the outside support of the Congress, an idea doing the rounds in political circles for the last few days.
"Where is the question (of a non-BJP government)?" he asked, saying the BJP and the Sena have been in alliance for 25 years, and they "will come together sooner or later".
"If we had the numbers, we wouldn't have waited for anyone. The Congress and the NCP didn't cross the 100 mark. We will work as a responsible opposition," he said.