Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party for the delay in the formation of the government saying his party has always practised ‘politics of truth and religion’ and is not hungry for power. The BJP and its ally Sena have won 105 and 56 seats respectively in the recently concluded Maharashtra Assembly Elections and are locked in a bitter tussle over sharing of power in the next state government.
“(Sena president) Uddhav Thackerayji has said we have other options too, but we don’t want to do the sin of accepting that alternative...the Shiv Sena has practised politics of truth, the party is not hungry for power,” Raut told reporters here.
When asked to comment on the delay in the formation of government in the state despite the alliance getting majority, he said, "There is no Dushyant here whose father is in jail. Here it's us who do politics of 'dharma and satya' (truth and religion)." He was apparently referring to Haryana’s Deputy Chief Minister and Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) leader Dushyant Chautala.
Raut on Monday said his party should not be compelled to look for an alternative to form the next government in Maharashtra and asserted there are “no saints in politics”. He claimed the two parties had agreed on an “equal power” sharing formula and had even made an announcement on it in Mumbai.
Another Sena leader on Tuesday said four Independent MLAs - from Melghat, Achalpur, Ramtek and Nevasa segments - have met Thackeray and pledged their support to the party. The Sena’s strength has now gone up to 60, he claimed. As the BJP’s tally went down in the October 21 state Assembly elections, compared to its 2014 performance, the Sena has been raising a pitch for “equal sharing” of power.
Thackeray last week reminded the BJP of the 50:50 formula “agreed upon” between himself, BJP president Amit Shah and Fadnavis ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The Sena has demanded a written assurance from the BJP for implementing “equal formula for sharing of power” before holding talks on staking the claim to form the next alliance government in the state.
In the recent polls to 288-member Assembly, the BJP won 105 seats, a loss of 17 seats compared to its 2014 tally. The Sena’s tally also came down to 56 seats from 63 in 2014. A resurgent NCP won 54 and the Congress bagged 44 seats. Ever since the results were announced on October 24, there have been statements from a section in the opposition Congress, though not officially, hinting that a move by the Sena to look beyond the BJP for government formation may get positive feelers.
The opposition NCP, however, has categorically denied any role in government formation, saying its mandate is to bein the opposition.