After the 14th day of the deadlock over power sharing in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray Thursday said he did not intend to break the alliance but expected BJP to keep its promise— of equal power sharing— made during the Lok Sabha elections.
"I don't want to break the alliance, but I want the BJP to implement what was decided during the Lok Sabha elections," he told a meeting of Sena MLAs held in Mumbai today.
Uddhav told the meeting, he was ready to hold discussions with the top brass of BJP if they agreed to what was decided during the Lok Sabha polls. "We will hold discussions with BJP provided they agree to what was decided during the Lok Sabha polls. They can call me up if they decide to give us Chief Minister's post for 2.5 years, otherwise don't call me up," he said.
Uddhav said, "Our party has been borne out of self-respect. We don't want to corner BJP. CM's statement was entirely inappropriate...If he is trying to prove that I was lying, then this is not appropriate. If BJP does not want to keep its word as decided, then what is the point in holding discussion," he told the meeting. The Sena has been maintaining that equal power sharing was decided during the Lok Sabha polls including sharing of Chief Minister's post for a period of 2.5 years.
MLAs who attended the meeting today, said they will back whatever decision the Sena chief takes. "We have left it to our chief to take the decision in the current situation. We will support whatever decision he takes," said MLA Abdul Sattar, who attended the meeting.
Addressing a press conference after the party meeting, Sena leader Sanjay Raut said there would be no compromise on Chief Minister's post. "At the MLAs meeting, party supremo Uddhav Thackeray said discussion will begin if BJP leaders agree to 50-50 formula and Chief Minister's post as decided during Lok Sabha elections," he said.
Raut further added: "Uddhav Thackeray made it clear that there will be no change in Sena's stand. All the MLAs in one voice supported his stand. Whatever decision he takes in Maharashtra's interest, is acceptable to us."
Asserting that Maharashtra will soon get a government and Sena Chief Minister will provide the necessary strength to it, Raut told reporters: "Here after, Maharashtra will be led by a Sena Chief Minister." Commenting on the Mahayuti in the state, the Sena leader said, "On October 24, Uddhav Thackeray said he will not commit the sin of breaking the alliance. He said though there is an alternative option available, I will not go for it...From that day till today, his stand remains the same."
Alleging that attempts are being made to impose President's rule in Maharashtra which is an insult to the people of Maharashtra, Raut said, "If BJP has the numbers, it should present it to the Governor...If doesn't have, it should make it clear....There is a vast difference between 2014 and 2019. They had tried to install a minority government then...Now no illegal act will be allowed."
Backing Raut's statements, another MLA Uday Samant said all the MLAs have given the party chief the free hand to take the final decision.
"They are taking the names of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and are resorting to the tactics of not allowing others to form the government. This is unconstitutional act. This is an old game and the game will not run for long. The constitution of this country belongs to the people and is not the property of anyone," Raut asserted at the presser.