Mumbai: When the BJP's first government in Maharashtra is sworn in tomorrow, former ally Shiv Sena will be confined to the role of spectator. "No Shiv Sena leader will be inducted," said BJP General Secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy today, according to the Press Trust of India.
The BJP has planned a mega inauguration for a mini cabinet headed by Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister. The Sena and the BJP cut a 25-year alliance ahead of the election, with the Sena bearing monumental costs for the split.
The BJP has resolutely refused to hit the gas pedal in the negotiations for a reunion, leaving the Sena in limbo. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has yet to accept the invitation to tomorrow's grand event at Wankhade Stadium.
Some of his colleagues reportedly feel that exclusion from the first cut of the government is a public insult that makes a future merge unpalatable.
But, the BJP, which was pilloried by Mr Thackeray during the election campaign, has made it clear that it will not be rushed into deciding its future. It won the most seats but not a clear majority, and yet, it faces no discomfort. Sharad Pawar's party, the NCP, has said it will support a minority government; a handful of independents are also willing to align with the BJP.
That has forced the Sena to marshal uncharacteristic pliancy. Its mouthpiece had been enlisted for particularly piercing critiques of the bJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi; now, editorials offer ingratiating praise."With Narendra at the centre, and Devendra heading the state, we expect 'achche din' ahead" says a column today, citing two popular BJP slogans.