The impasse over a 50:50 power share in Maharashtra continuing unabated, the Shiv Sena has now appealed to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh - the ideological mentor of the BJP -- to help resolve the deadlock. In a letter, Shiv Sena leader Kishore Tiwari - known to be close to Union minister Nitin Gadkari -- has asked Mohan Bhagwat to step in, alleging that the BJP is not following "coalition dharma".
The Sena, following the results in the state assembly election, has claimed that the BJP had agreed to a 50:50 power share in the state ahead of the general elections. This the Sena said, would mean a rotational system for the Chief Minister's post and half the state's ministerial berths.
In his letter to Mohan Bhagwat, Mr Tiwari said the state has delivered a mandate in favour of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. But the BJP's failure to follow 'coalition dharma' is delaying the formation of new government in Maharashtra. Therefore, the RSS "should intervene and resolve the issue," the letter read.
There has been no response from the RSS yet.
The impasse between the allies has been on since the counting of votes took place on October 24. The Shiv Sena had refused to back down from its demand, even though the BJP has made it clear that it would not share the top post. In an editorial in Saamana, the Sena had declared though it had accepted the BJP's conditions in 2014, this time, it would not "blink first".
Furious with the lack of response from the BJP camp, the Sena has even announced that it was ready to go with Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress to form government.
Even after a meeting between Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP chief Amit Shah, the BJP has not issued response. After the meeting on Monday morning, Mr Fadnavis told reporters that there is a need to form the government in Maharashtra at the earliest and it would be formed.
There was no word on how the BJP would go about it or on any negotiation with the Sena.
The deadline for government formation in the state is fast approaching - the term of the Maharashtra assembly ends on November 9.
The BJP-Shiv Sena's combined tally in the 288-seat Maharashtra assembly stands at 161.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is set against any dealing with the Shiv Sena, sources said, even though her party leaders in Maharashtra and ally Sharad Pawar are said to be amenable to an arrangement to keep the BJP out of power.