Amid the ongoing logjam in Maharashtra, BJP president and Home Minister Amit Shah made his first public statement on the present political scenario and on severing ties with its three-decade-old ally, Shiv Sena.
In the Assembly elections held last month, the BJP won 105 seats, followed by the Shiv Sena (56), the NCP (54) and the Congress (48) in the 288-member House.
Despite securing enough seats, the pre-poll alliance between the BJP and Shiv Sena fell through following a disagreement over power-sharing, with the Uddhav Thackeray-led party insisting on a rotational chief minister.
With no party coming forth to stake claim with the requisite number of legislators in the 18 days following the results, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari recommended the imposition of President’s Rule, which was approved by the President on Tuesday.
Never agreed to rotational CM, says Amit Shah
In an exclusive interview with Asian News International on Wednesday, Shah said the BJP could not form government in the state on its own as the Shiv Sena put conditions, which were not acceptable.
“We were ready to form the government with the Shiv Sena. But there were certain things of Shiv Sena we could not have agreed. We fought the elections in an alliance. We are the single largest party but we did not fight many seats, which our ally fought. When the ally tried to put a condition, which was not acceptable. We cannot form the government on our own as we have 105 seats, what we can do,” he said.
The Union Minister said that nobody contradicted when it was said repeatedly during political rallies in Maharashtra that Devendra Fadnavis will be the chief minister if the BJP-Shiv Sena wins the polls.
“During the campaign, I said hundred times; Prime Minister said many times. Devendra Fadnavis also said many times that if an alliance government is formed, the chief minister will be Devendra Fadnavis. Nobody contradicted. Some new conditions have come; we have reservations also and will discuss them at an appropriate time,” he said.
Responding to Sena’s claim of having a rotational CM if the NDA came to power, Shah reiterated that there was no such agreement.
He further stated that the hullabaloo by opposition parties over the imposition of President’s Rule was “a meaningless exercise to gain public sympathy”, adding that “even today if someone has a majority, they can contact the Governor and stake the claim”.
Sanjay Raut calls out Shah over alleged ‘lies’
A day after the interview, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut hit out at Shah, alleging that the latter was lying on the Maharashtra power-sharing deal.
“Amit Shah is lying on Shiv Sena’s demand for a rotational chief minister for 2.5 years. He also kept PM Narendra Modi in the dark over the issue,” Raut said.
The Sena spokesperson said that while his party never disagreed with Devendra Fadnavis being the CM, the Sena too would tell people that the next chief minister will be from their party during all public rallies.
“In all public rallies, Shiv Sena chief used to tell people that the next chief minister will be from his party. How can Amit Shah claim that there was no deal on power-sharing and rotational chief ministership in Maharashtra? Everything between the two sides was normal till the assembly election, then how things worsened all of a sudden,” he added.
Raut further said that the power-sharing discussion between Uddhav and Shah took place in Shiv Sena founder Bala Saheb’s room, which the party treats like a temple.
“Now, that Shah is lying on the issue, we see this as an insult to Shiv Sena founder and his party. We swear in his name that we are not lying on the issue,” Raut said.