Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut reached out to Ajit Pawar - Sharad Pawar's nephew and a leader of his Nationalist Congress Party -- after the party gave an ultimatum of sorts to the BJP. In an article in party mouthpiece Saamna, the Sena today declared that the party would look for an alternative if the BJP was not ready to accept its demand for a 50:50 division of the Chief Minister's post.
"I have received a message from Sanjay Raut a while ago. I was in a meeting so didn't respond. I don't know why he has messaged. Since the results this is the first time he has messaged me. I will call him in a while and talk to him," Ajit Pawar told reporters in the afternoon.
He also added that any decision regarding a partnership with Shiv Sena can only be taken by Sharad Pawar.
78-year-old Sharad Pawar is expected to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in Delhi tomorrow - a move that gains weight in view of the Sena editorial floating the idea of an alternate combination that includes the NCP and the Congress.
In this morning's editorial in Saamna, the Sena had dared the BJP impose President's Rule in the state or prove its majority on the floor of the house. The BJP has won 105 seats and the Sena 56 in the 288-member house.
"If BJP fails to prove majority on the floor of the house, then Sena as the second largest party, will claim to form government," the editorial by Mr Raut had read.
"With 54 MLAs of NCP, 44 Cong MLAs and few independents, we can reach majority. The Sena can present its own Chief Minister and for that, 3 parties with independent ideology should form policies which are acceptable to all," the editorial added.
The editorial also said though it had gone by the BJP's directions in 2014 - when the two parties came together after a brief break-up - it would not "blink first" this time.
The BJP has won 105 seats and the Sena 56 in the 288-member house.
Following the results, there has been mixed signals from the NCP. Initially there were reports that the party sent feelers to the Sena about a new political configuration, but was followed by Sharad Pawar's declaration that his party will sit on opposition benches as per the people's mandate.
At the same time, he appeared to cheer on the Sena for its demand of a turn at the Chief Minister's post - an insistence that has created an impasse among the state's ruling allies. The BJP has made it clear that it would not share the Chief Minister's post
Over the weekend, a leader of Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party had reiterated that it would take a "positive view" if the Sena is ready to form a "people's government as envisaged by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj" minus the BJP.