Mumbai: Even as the Shiv Sena makes a last ditch attempt to join a BJP-led government in Maharashtra, a section of senior leaders in the party have taken a cautious view over the issue. Several leaders and party functionaries are of the view that the Sena should only join the government if a ‘respectable’ deal works out or take up the role of the opposition party instead.
While most senior leaders are hopeful of an alliance, many leaders now become vocal that party should not succumb to BJP’s pressure and take up the insignificant portfolios. “At present, the talks are not in progress. We are hoping that talks will resume when union home minister Rajnath Singh arrives in Mumbai on Tuesday and a positive outcome will come out. We are of the view that the Sena should get one third of the share power,” said senior Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar, speaking to media.
This means that in a full-strength council of ministers with 42 berths, Sena should get 13 berths. “It’s not possible for us to accept anything less than that. In case things don’t fall in place; we would be ready to sit in the opposition benches rather than compromising on the party’s pride and prestige,” Kirtikar added.
Another senior Sena leader Ramdas Kadam also took the cautious view and said that there would be a ‘positive’ outcome on Tuesday. “We feel that talks with senior BJP leader Rajnath Singhji would be positive and will resolve the issue,” Kadam told Firstpost.
Sena leaders visited Delhi for the second time in two weeks on Monday. However, like last time, they could not meet senior leaders like Rajnath Singh and JP Nadda. They met union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan and gave their final offer demanding at least four important ministerial portfolios that includes the coveted finance ministry. Earlier, the Sena was keen on bagging the post of deputy chief minister and other portfolios like higher and technical education, irrigation and health.
Former Shiv Sena MP and noted editor Bharat Kumar Raut too had suggested that the Sena take up the role of a constructive opposition instead of playing a junior role in a BJP-led government.
Several local Sena functionaries are joining the chorus that the Sena should become the principal opposition party in the state. “BJP has pushed us too far and already caused a lot of humiliation. Even if we join the government, it is clear that our share is going to be meager. BJP, going by the past experience, will make things difficult for us. It will be better if we sit in the opposition and make a plan to rebuild the party,” said a Yuva Sena functionary from Dadar.
Softening its stand on the BJP, the Shiv Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, on Monday said that it is ready to support any leader chosen by its estranged ally as the next chief minister of the state.
Party sources said that the BJP’s team in Maharashtra did not want any alliance with the Sena and suggested that the party should form the government on their own. A cornered Sena is banking on Singh to intervene and them on board.