- BJP won 105 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly
- With BJP tally dipping, Shiv Sena is seen to have gained more leverage
- Governor, according to protocol, has to invite the single largest party
The BJP and Shiv Sena, locked in a tussle over power-sharing, met the state Governor separately today. After contesting the Maharashtra polls together and winning a majority, the two allies have been fighting over the Sena's demand for a better deal.
A Shiv Sena delegation led by Diwakar Raote met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in the morning. After that, the BJP's Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met with him.
The official word is that the delegations are meeting the Governor to exchange Diwali greetings.
"Met Hon Governor Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari ji this morning at RajBhavan, Mumbai and wished him on occasion of #Diwali . Also apprised him on the current scenario," Mr Fadnavis tweeted after the meeting.
The Governor has to invite the single largest party to form the government, unless there is an alliance that has a clear majority. The Sena-BJP pre-poll alliance won a clear majority with the BJP as the single largest party.
Soon after the election results on Thursday, which saw the BJP winning less seats than it expected, leaving it more dependent on the Shiv Sena than it would like, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray reminded the BJP of the "50:50 formula" for power sharing the two had talked about before the national election earlier this year. "We contested less number of seats for the Lok Sabha and assembly elections. I cannot accommodate the BJP every time. We also need to grow our party. I want to remind the BJP of the formula which was worked out in the presence of (BJP president) Amit Shah," Mr Thackeray had said.
A meeting is likely to take place between Uddhav Thackeray, State BJP President Chandrakant Patil, Mr Fadnavis and Amit Shah to work out a power-sharing arrangement.
The BJP won 105 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly and the Shiv Sena ended up with 56. With the BJP's tally dipping from 122 in 2014, the Sena is seen to have gained more leverage. Together, the two have 161 seats, way past the half-way mark of 144.
The Sena has sought an arrangement where a Chief Minister each from the two parties will split the five-year term and wants an assurance from the BJP leadership in writing. Many Sena MLAs want party chief Uddhav Thackeray's son Aaditya Thackeray to be Chief Minister for two-and-a-half years. Aaditya, 29, is the first of the Thackeray clan to contest and win an election.
Top Sena sources have ruled out staking claim to form government. The BJP is likely to do so after its newly-elected MLAs formally elect Mr Fadnavis as their legislature party leader. The BJP will then have to prove its majority on the floor of the house, by convention.
On Sunday, the BJP claimed the support of three independent MLAs, which was seen as an attempt to shore up its numbers with the Sena playing hardball.