Shiv Sena suspects power sharing talks in Maharashtra as BJP’s drama

Mumbai: A day after the BJP took the initiative to woo its estranged ally Shiv Sena, a section of Sena leaders are raising suspicion that the entire episode of resuming power sharing talks is round two of BJP’s alliance drama. Though the Sena is going ahead with the talks, the saffron party is wary of the BJP’s tactics due to its bitter experience with the former ally during the seat sharing talks before the assembly elections.

Shiv Sena suspects power sharing talks in Maharashtra as BJP’s drama

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. PTI

Following a meeting of Sena party president Uddhav Thackeray and senior BJP leaders on Friday that remained inconclusive, a section of Sena leaders believe that the BJP is just trying to show off that they serious about the alliance ahead of the winter session of the state assembly scheduled to begin on 8 December. BJP leaders said that the Sena has been assured that their final proposal would be placed before the central leadership which is likely to take the final call on the power sharing issue.

“The way the BJP responded yesterday was very typical of them. This was exactly happened before the alliance split in October. It is like another round of drama by the BJP that dragged the talks till the last moment without any conclusive offer and then broke the alliance. Now, there seems to be a possibility that the BJP will do the same thing by carrying on the talks with us till the last moment and suddenly it will announce the cabinet expansion without the Sena,” said a senior Sena leader.

The leader added that the BJP has faced a lot of criticism for keeping us away from power. “At the same time, the BJP is also worried about the increasing sympathy the Sena is receiving due to the NCP’s outside support to BJP. The public opinion has turned against the Fadnavis government which is why BJP seems to be making attempts to neutralize it,” said another Sena functionary adding that the saffron party is not in any hurry to join the government.

On Saturday, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy also met Uddhav on Saturday at Matoshree, the latter’s residence. Swamy said that the two parties should come together for Hindutva.

However, the Sena has once again made it clear that the party wants a 2:1 share in the government along with the deputy chief minister’s post and the important home portfolio. BJP has deputed Union Minister Dharamendra Pradhan and PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil to talk to the Sena over the power sharing issue in Maharashtra.

Political observers say that the BJP fears a tough time in the upcoming winter session in Nagpur due to the Sena’s aggressive stand as an opposition party. Also, the congress and NCP has decided to launch agitations on various issues such as drought, Maratha reservation, Dalit atrocities ahead of the assembly session.

At present, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s cabinet has only 10 ministers, with many holding two to three ministries portfolios as additional charge. The BJP government wants to expand the ministry before the winter session of the assembly scheduled to begin on 8 December. At present, the BJP, which has 122 members in the state assembly, is short of 22 MLAs to prove its majority in the state assembly.