Maharashtra: Shiv Sena ready to support BJP-led coalition
MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena may support a Bharatiya Janata
Party-led government in Maharashtra, a top Sena leader said here on Thursday.
“The election results indicate that no single party
can form the government. However, both (Shiv Sena, BJP) can come together for
the purpose. This is the people’s mandate,” Shiv Sena parliamentarian and
emissary Anil Desai told a private television channel.
The two parties are expected to start discussions on
forming the government Monday, he said. On the issue of the chief minister,
Anil Desai said since the Bharatiya Janata Party has secured more seats, it
would be their decision. But other things would be discussed by the two
parties, he added.
In the 288-member assembly, the BJP and allies secured
123 seats, the Shiv Sena got 63, Congress managed 42, the NCP won 41 and the
remaining seats were bagged by either Independents or smaller and regional
parties. A party needs 145 seats for simple majority in the state assembly.
The change of heart in the Shiv Sena follows a quick
trip by Anil Desai, a Rajya Sabha member and his colleague Subhash Desai to New
Delhi two days ago.
“We had detailed and fruitful discussions with the BJP
leaders authorised by the party... After a couple of days, formal discussions
will start and all final decisions in the matter will be taken by Sena
President Uddhav Thackeray,” Anil Desai said.
Though both the Shiv Sena leaders have not revealed
whom they met among the BJP top brass, it is apparent they cleared the ground
for entering into an alliance again, which was broken by the BJP Sep 25, just
three weeks before the assembly polls Oct 15.
Meanwhile, sources in both the BJP and the Shiv Sena
claimed that no fresh proposals have been sent to each other, while the BJP
went a step further, saying there could not be "preconditions" by the
Shiv Sena for extending support.
Though both sides said it was too early to outline the
contours of the proposed government, based on the number of seats secured, it
could be based on a formula of the BJP 28 and the Shiv Sena 14 ministers each.
The Shiv Sena's decision to initiate talks with the
BJP was prompted by various factors, among them, the BJP's tough stance before
and after elections, and the general anathema to the 'unconditional external
support' extended by the Nationalist Congress Party.
Besides, the Shiv Sena had to grapple with a section
of hawks within the Shiv Sena who were against supporting the BJP while another
group advocated alliance amid possibility of large-scale defections from the
This will be second time since 1995 when the two
parties will unite to give Maharashtra its second non-Congress government till
date in the state's history.