- Sena's Sanjay Raut made it clear BJP would have to honour its word
- He taunted the BJP saying the party "always chants Ram's name"
- Shiv Sena, BJP met with state Governor separately today
The Shiv Sena today made it clear that it would fight for its demand for a 50:50 arrangement on chief ministership in Maharashtra, which the ruling BJP has emphatically disagreed with. The two parties, who contested the Maharashtra election in an alliance and won a majority together, met with state Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari separately, fueling speculation of a deepening crisis.
First Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote, then the BJP's Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met with the Governor in what were officially described as "courtesy calls" for Diwali greetings.
Mr Fadnavis said in a tweet on the meeting that he "also apprised him (the Governor) on the current scenario."
The Sena's Sanjay Raut made it clear that the BJP would have to honour its word.
"This is not our demand, this is their agreement with us... They should understand... they gave us their word before the national election... you can't delete what you said in front of the media," Sanjay Raut told NDTV.
"You can tear paper, you can make files disappear. You can set fire to the Mantralaya, like they set fire to the Mantralaya to destroy files... But this agreement on power sharing, how will you delete it," Mr Raut questioned.
He taunted the BJP saying the party "always chants Ram's name" and Ram means satya (truth).
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.
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 is demanding a rotational arrangement where a Chief Minister from each party will split the five-year term. It has asked for 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.
"Uddhav Thackeray will decide on the chief ministerial candidate. But we want, and the people of Maharashtra also want Aaditya Thackeray for the job," Mr Raut 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.
For now, the Sena is back to criticising its partner openly, something that it had paused for the polls. On Monday, it borrowed an iconic dialogue from Hindi blockbuster movie 'Sholay' to target the centre in its mouthpiece "Saamna" over the economic slowdown, seeking to know why there was so much "silence" in markets on the occasion of Diwali and wondered if worse days were ahead.
The Sena has ruled out staking claim to form government, pointing out that neither party has a majority on its own.
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.