Mumbai: With the Shiv Sena playing hardball over power sharing with ally BJP in Maharashtra, state Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar said on Saturday that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party should come forward for an "alternative arrangement".
The Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly also said that though the mandate for the Congress was to sit in opposition, the party needed to join hands with others to stop the BJP from coming to power.
"The mandate for the Congress is to perform the role of opposition. But to stop the BJP, we need to come together. Shiv Sena has to come forward. The Sena should come forward for an alternative arrangement as the popular mandate was against the BJP," he said.
Wadettiwar, however, added that the Congress had not initiated any discussion with the Sena. The Congress leader's statement came on a day when the Sena demanded a written assurance from the BJP to implement "equal formula for sharing of power" before holding talks for forming the next saffron alliance government in the state.
Newly-elected MLAs of the Sena, who met Uddhav Thackeray at his residence in Mumbai, demanded that his son Aaditya Thackeray, 29, be made chief minister.
In the October 21 elections, the BJP won 105 seats and the Sena 56, while the NCP and Congress bagged 54 and 44 seats, respectively. The halfway mark in the house is 144.
The verdict was disappointing for the BJP which had set itself the target of securing simple majority on its own. With the BJP's tally well below 144, the Sena has more leverage.
There was talk of the Congress and NCP supporting the Sena to keep the BJP away from power. Senior Congress leaders and former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan had said the party should consider all options.
But NCP chief Sharad Pawar ruled out any such possibility.
Union Minister and senior BJP leader Raosaheb Danve said on Saturday that he was not aware of any equal power sharing deal between the Sena and his party.
"After Diwali, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will discuss government formation with Uddhav Thackeray," he told reporters.
Meanwhile, Wadettiwar also said that had the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) joined the Congress-NCP alliance, the poll outcome would have been different.
The VBA is believed to have eaten into votes of the Congress and NCP. A Congress-led government would have come to power had the party chalked out a more aggressive strategy and worked harder, Wadettiwar stated.