Shiv Sena-BJP standoff: Sanjay Raut meets Sharad Pawar, asserts next CM will be from Sena

Shiv Sena-BJP standoff: Sanjay Raut meets Sharad Pawar, asserts next CM will be from Sena
Raut dubbed his meet with Pawar as a courtesy call but maintained that the Sena can get the required numbers to form a stable government in Maharashtra (Representational Image)

Amid standoff with ally BJP over the top post, senior party leader Sanjay Raut on Friday asserted that the next Maharashtra Chief Minister will be from the Shiv Sena.

The Sena has been projecting Aditya, a first-time MLA and the son of party chief Uddhav Thackeray, as the party’s candidate for the Chief Minister’s post.

Talking to reporters, Raut said there has been no talks yet between the BJP and the Sena on government formation, but asserted that the next Maharashtra chief minister will be from the Shiv Sena.

“No ultimatum to the BJP (on government formation). They are big people,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.

If the Sena decides, it can get the required numbers to form a stable government in Maharashtra, he added.

People have given the mandate to form a government on the basis of “50:50 formula” that was reached in front of the people of Maharashtra, Raut said.

In the just-held state polls, the BJP won 105 seats, while the Sena got 56 in the 288-member assembly.

The Uddhav-led party is demanding the post of Chief Minister for 2.5 years and 50:50 division of portfolios. However, both demands have been rejected by the BJP which has insisted that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis remain at the helm.

Raut meets NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar

Earlier this week, Raut called on Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar at his residence in Mumbai, triggering speculation about the possible formation of an alternative government.

The NCP won 54 seats and Congress 44 seats in the recently concluded polls. If Sena joins forces with the opposition parties, the alliance can cross the half-way mark of 144 seats and form a government.

However, when asked about the meeting, Raut claimed that the meeting was a “courtesy call”.

“It isn’t unusual for me to meet Mr. Pawar. I meet him often. We discussed the current political scenario in the state, among other things,” said Raut, who had also met Pawar on the day of results.

BJP mulling over rotational deputy Chief Ministers

Amid the ongoing tussle, the BJP is mulling an idea of two deputy Chief Ministers to accommodate the ally as well as take care of the Maratha sentiment.

“Considering the present situation in the state, the party (BJP) is planning to have two deputy Chief Ministers — one from the Sena and another a Maratha belonging to the BJP,” a senior BJP functionary was quoted as saying.

The power-sharing pact would be finalised within a day or two and the swearing-in ceremony might take place this week, he added.

Meanwhile, Sena elected Eknath Shinde, a Maratha, as the legislature party leader and a likely candidate for the deputy CM post. His counterpart from the BJP will likely be senior leader Chandrakant Patil, who recently became the party’s new state chief.

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