NEW DELHI : The tussle over government formation between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra continued for the fifth day since the assembly election results were announced.

The differences within the National Democratic Alliance came out in the open on Monday when BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena’s Diwakar Raote met governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari separately.

While the BJP is keen to form a coalition government in the state, senior party leaders were not ready to give in to the demands of its ally, which is seeking an equal sharing of cabinet berths, and a 50:50 formula for the chief minister’s post.

Shiv Sena’s clamour for greater representation in the state cabinet grew louder with the BJP winning 105 seats in the assembly polls, down 17 seats from the 2014 state polls. This despite the fact that the Sena’s tally was also down from 63 to 56 seats.

Fadnavis is likely to meet Koshyari again on 30 October to stake claim.

Considering that neither Fadnavis nor BJP state president Chandrakant Patil have been able to iron out the differences with Shiv Sena leaders, primarily Uddhav Thackeray, party president and home minister Amit Shah is expected to visit Mumbai this week to hold talks with the Shiv Sena chief.

“So far there is a deadlock and the BJP is not ready to agree to the demands of Shiv Sena of having a chief minister of their choice for equal tenure. It is expected that when Shah meets Thackeray this deadlock will end," said a senior BJP leader from Maharashtra, requesting anonymity.

Shiv Sena on Monday reiterated that the party wants Aaditya Thackeray to become the chief minister, but the final decision rests with his father Uddhav.

“The protocol of the party is that the final decision is made by the party chief. But when we are asked about our suggestion, we will tell him that Shiv Sena legislators want Aaditya Thackeray as the chief minister of Maharashtra," said Sanjay Raut, member of Parliament, Shiv Sena and party spokesperson.

“A possible peace deal can happen if BJP agrees to have a deputy chief minister from Shiv Sena, along with some inductions in the Union cabinet," the BJP leader said, requesting anonymity.

The problems between the BJP and Shiv Sena started in the run up to the assembly elections, with the regional party pushing to contest equal number of seats in Maharashtra. The BJP had finally managed to convince the Sena that it should be allowed to contest 164 seats since it had 122 sitting members in the legislative assembly (MLAs) and, the Sena with just 63 MLAs, should put up candidates in 124 seats.

“BJP did not give Shiv Sena any good portfolios both in Delhi and Mumbai and asked them to contest fewer seats. Now Shiv Sena feels that it can get back at the BJP. I think a peace deal will take place between the two side but after hard bargaining," said Subrata Mukherjee, former political science professor at Delhi University.


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