Sena Calls Off Meeting, BJP Sounds Defiant

Mumbai: Giving a fresh twist to the ongoing saga in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena has called off its scheduled meeting with the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership. This comes in the wake of Devendra Fadnavis asserting the Chief Minister’s post belongs exclusively to the BJP and rubbished Sena’s claims of a 50-50 deal.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Fadnavis told reporters: “I assure you that this will be a BJP-led government. The Shiv Sena was not promised CM’s post for two-and-a-half years when the alliance was formalised before the Lok Sabha polls.”

Bhupendra Yadav, a close aide of Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah, flew into Mumbai to sit on the negotiating table along with Chandarkant Dada Patil. From Sena’s side, Sanjay Raut and Subhash Desai were tasked with the job. But now, in a brazen move which is seen as a retort to Fadnavis’ statement, Sena has called off the meeting.

Fadnavis’s statement, in turn, came against the backdrop of a no-filter attack on BJP by Raut. He said on Tuesday: “There’s no Dushyant Chautala here whose father is in jail. We do politics of truth in Maharashtra. if someone tries to keep us away from power, it’s not called politics of truth. We are seeing what’s happening and how low people can stoop.”

It was a clear reference to the way the BJP cobbled up a government in Haryana where it fell six short of the magic number but formed the government with the help of Dushyant Chautala, whose Jannayak Janata Party ran an election campaign on Jat consolidation and anti-BJP rhetoric.

Both the BJP and Sena, who have 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, are now exploring ways and means to form a government, independent of each other, as their Plan B.

Meanwhile, BJP’s Mumbai spokesperson Suresh Nakhua told IANS: “There’s a saying which goes like this: “If you are with us, with you. If you are not with us, without you. If you are against us, in spite of you.’ It will be BJP government and BJP CM, I can assure you. Rest all are meaningless.”