Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil today responded to ally Shiv Sena's claim to the post of chief minister by stating "everyone has the right to express (their views)".
The BJP's tally in the Assembly polls, results of which were declared on October 24, came down to 105 from 122 in 2014, prompting the Shiv Sena, with 56 seats and greater bargaining power, to play hardball in power-sharing talks.
Among the Sena's demands is a written assurance from the BJP on "equal sharing of power", which could possibly include equal division of the chief ministerial tenure.
Mr Patil, who won from Kothrud constituency in Pune city, however, added the final decision on government formation would be taken by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
He said the BJP's newly-elected MLAs would meet on October 30 in Mumbai to elect the leader of the House.
Responding to a question on the Sena reportedly demanding that it be given the chief minister's post for two-and-half years, Mr Patil said: "Everyone has the right to express (their views)."
"We have started government formation talks with the Sena. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray are authorised to take a final decision on it," he said.
Devendra Fadnavis is the most successful chief minister of Maharashtra since its formation, he said. "He ran the government with transparency and vision."
Speaking on the defeat of former MP and BJP candidate Udayanraje Bhosale in the Satara Lok Sabha bypoll, held along with the state Assembly polls on October 21, Mr Patil said the verdict was "shocking".
"The central leadership (of BJP) will take care of him (Bhosale)," he added.
Mr Bhosale had won the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Satara on an NCP ticket before quitting and joining the BJP, necessitating a bypoll in which he was trounced by NCP's Srinivas Patil.
Chandrakant Patil, meanwhile, also claimed the BJP, despite losing seats in 2019, had done better than 2014 as its strike rate had improved.