BJP Core Group In A Huddle, Sena Sends 'Wishes', Warns Of Horsetrading

Maharashtra government: The BJP believes in the "business of politics", said Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut, who has been leading the Sena attacks on the BJP

Maharashtra government 2019: "Our leaders are not businessmen," Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut said


The core group of the Maharashtra BJP is meeting today to discuss the Governor's invite to the party to form the government in Maharashtra amid its ongoing tussle with ally Shiv Sena over power sharing. The meeting was held a noon at the house of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The Sena, meanwhile, is busy guarding its flock of MLAs.

Today, the Sena heaped taunts on its ally, sending "best wishes" and expressing confidence that the BJP  would try do its best to buy MLAs ahead of the test of strength in the assembly. The party also said it was confident that the Congress MLAs cannot be swayed.

"I give my best wishes to the BJP to form their government in the state, as they claim to have majority and the numbers to have their own Chief Minister," said Sena's Sanjay Raut, who has been leading the party's offensive against the BJP since the counting of the assembly election votes.

More than two weeks on, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited the BJP yesterday to form government as the single largest party.

The BJP and the Sena, who were the state's ruling coalition, fell out over a 50:50 power share -- including a turn at the Chief Minister's post -- that Uddhav Thackeray's party has been insisting on.

"We believe that the BJP will try all means to horsetrade MLAs, but I am confident that the Congress MLAs cannot be traded," said the leader, appearing undeterred by the negative signals regarding a possible alliance from the Congress camp.  

The Sena has been sending feelers to the Congress and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party and talking of an alternative political alignment. But last week, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi ruled it out after a meeting with Sharad Pawar, sources said.

For several years now, the BJP has created this image that they can buy MLAs and buy a government if they want, the Sena leader said. But his party, he claimed, has managed to break their habit.

The BJP believes in the "business of politics". "Our leaders are not businessmen, Shiv Sena has never done business in politics," said Mr Raut, whose party has sequestered its MLAs at a resort far from Mumbai to keep them out of the BJP's reach.

"We will be going to meet our MLAs at the resort today, to know what they believe in... Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray will also be present," he said.

Aaditya Thackeray spent the night at the resort with the MLAs while party chief Uddhav Thackeray arrived at the resort this afternoon to meet with the MLAs.

Yesterday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had delivered his strongest statement against the Shiv Sena since taking over as the Chief Minister in 2014.

"Given their statements, especially against the PM, we are stunned and hurt. No one from the BJP ever targeted Bal Thackeray (Sena founder) or Uddhav Thackeray. But the way the Sena relentlessly attacked Modi-ji, even our rivals didn't. We cannot accept it. It seems the Shiv Sena is not interested in continuing the alliance," Mr Fadnavis said.

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