New Delhi: Amid talks of government formation in Maharashtra, Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Friday ruled out siding with long-time ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) “even if [Hindu deity] Indra’s throne is offered.”
“The time for offers has ended. We will not go back to BJP even if they offer Indra’s throne to us,” Raut told media, reacting to speculation that BJP had agreed to Sena’s demand for rotational chief ministership in the state.
Earlier, federal minister Ramdas Athawale had met Raut and said that Shiv Sena was re-considering ties with BJP on certain conditions. However, Raut on Friday denied that.
Recently, Shiv Sena parted ways with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the wake of differences with the saffron party over formation of government in Maharashtra.
Arvind Sawant, the lone Sena member in federal cabinet, resigned as heavy industries minister earlier this month indicating Sena’s exit from the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Friday, Raut emphasised that his party will get the chief minister’s post when the three-party alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party forms the state government.
“The people of Maharashtra want Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to become the chief minister,” Raut said.
He, however, clarified that the three parties have decided “in principle” to join hands but are yet to finalise a common minimum programme (CMP).
Sena, NCP and Congress are likely to soon announce the alliance, tentatively named ‘Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (Maharashtra Development Front).’
Maharashtra has a total of 288 legislative assembly seats. With 105 seats under its belt, the BJP has the highest number but it is not near the halfway mark of 144. While Shiv Sena has 56 seats, NCP and Congress have 54 and 44 seats respectively.
The state was placed under President’s Rule after no party could produce letters of support to prove their majority.