The Shiv Sena would skip a meeting of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Paty (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance on Sunday ahead of around a month-long winter session of Parliament from Monday.
“I have learnt that the meeting [of the NDA constituents] is being held on November 17 [Sunday]. We had already decided against attending the meeting considering the developments in Maharashtra,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told journalists after meeting the party’s chief, Uddhav Thackeray, on Sunday.
“You can say that. There is no problem with saying that,” added Raut, when asked if the Shiv Sena’s exit from the NDA is now only a mere formality. He added that the Shiv Sena wants Thackeray to be the chief minister.
Raut said that the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress have reached a consensus on a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) as the basis of their proposed coalition government and there was no need to discuss it in Delhi.
The move to skip the meeting comes a day after NCP president Sharad Pawar said that an alliance of his party with the Shiv Sena and the Congress will soon form the Maharashtra government and will last its full five-year term.
The three parties have been in talks over a CMP for the government formation after the BJP, which emerged as the single-largest party in last month’s assembly elections, abandoned its efforts to form a government in alliance with the Sena.
The BJP and the Sena earlier bickered for a fortnight over power-sharing arrangements. The two parties were unable to agree to a power-sharing deal amid Shiv Sena’s insistence on rotational chief ministership.
The BJP has 105 seats and Shiv Sena 56 in a 288-member assembly. The Congress and NCP have 44 and 54 seats.
President’s Rule was imposed in Maharashtra on Tuesday after governor B S Koshyari told the Centre that no party was in a position to form the government in the state.
Shiv Sena’s lone minister, Arvind Sawant, at the Centre quit the NDA government on Monday last a day after the NCP said that it was open to supporting his party to form the government in Maharashtra if it quit the BJP-led coalition.
The Shiv Sena mouthpiece, Saamana, separately continued its tirade against the BJP on Saturday. It slammed state BJP president Chandrakant Patil for his statement that the next government would be formed under his party’s leadership.
An editorial in Saamna pointed out that the BJP had told the governor that it did not have the numbers to form the government. “If the party is now saying it will form the government, it means they are resorting to horse-trading,” the Saamana remarked. “The intention of horse-trading stands exposed now.”
The party said that nobody would remain permanently in power and the BJP leaders should accept this fact.
Shiv Sena Parliament member Vinayak Raut told Marathi news channels that he has heard that the seating arrangement of his party’s members has changed in Rajya Sabha and they will get places on the opposition benches.
“We are yet to receive a formal request from Shiv Sena. But in all likelihood, they [Shiv Sena] will have new seating arrangements during the [winter] session starting Monday,” an official familiar with developments said.
The Shiv Sena has three members in the upper house of Parliament.