“Shiv Sena Has No Option, Has To Form Government With BJP”: Ramdas Athawale

रामदास आठवले

NEW DELHI: The Shiv Sena has no option but to join hands with BJP to form government in Maharashtra under Devendra Fadnavis’s leadership, their ally Ramdas Athawale said on Wednesday, soon after Sharad Pawar asserted that his party NCP will work as a “responsible opposition”.

The BJP and the Shiv Sena are locked in a tussle over the Chief Minister’s post, resulting in a stalemate in government formation in Maharashtra.

Mr. Pawar’s remarks came this morning after a meeting with senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who he had met earlier too.

“There is no option left with the Shiv Sena now than to form government with the BJP under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis,” Mr. Ramdas Athawale said.

The impasse remains despite the results of the October 24 assembly polls giving the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance combined seat strength of 161, way past the 145 majority mark in the 288-member House.

The people of Maharashtra have given the mandate to the BJP and the Shiv Sena to form government in alliance, Mr. Athawale added.

Wondering how the Shiv Sena can form government with 56 legislators, he said, “If the Shiv Sena does not come with us, then Devendra Fadnavis should move forward and stake claim to form government in the state.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Athawale had said the Shiv Sena should not be “adamant” on its demand for the Chief Minister’s post as it rightly belongs to the BJP.

He said he is hopeful that Union Minister Nitin Gadkari would be able to resolve the situation as he enjoys respect across party lines.

The bone of contention between the BJP and the Shiv Sena is their demand for the post of Chief Minister on rotational basis with the BJP and a “50:50 formula” for allocating ministries.