The Shiv Sena will not be denied in its effort to form the government in Maharashtra, Sanjay Raut tweeted today, a day after being discharged from Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital where he underwent an angioplasty procedure. Mr Raut, whose party is close to forming an unlikely alliance with the NCP and the Congress to stake claim to power in the state, cautioned the BJP that the allies would neither be defeated nor afraid. "Ab haarna aur darna manaa hai...," Mr Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP and the Sena spokesperson, said.
Sanjay Raut, 57, also tweeted a Hindi couplet that reads: "Haar ho jaati hai jab maan liya jaata hai, jeet tab hoti hai jab thaan liya jaata hai (defeat happens when one accepts it, victory happens when one is determined)".
The Congress, Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Sena are racing to cobble together a working coalition to form the new Maharashtra government after the BJP, which emerged from last month's election as the single-largest party in the 288-member Assembly, turned down the Governor's invitation to do the same.
The BJP has 105 seats, well below the majority mark of 145, and had indicated it would not take up Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's invite because it did not have the numbers.
Should the Sena-NCP-Congress alliance work it will have 154 seats.
However, the task has been fraught with difficulty as it requires the Congress to make peace with a political party whose ideology is drastically different to its own.
Among the conditions that have reportedly been imposed on the Sena in return for Congress and NCP support is that Uddhav Thackeray, the Shiv Sena leader who has been tipped to become Chief Minister, will not speak of the Ayodhya issue if and when he takes power.
Sanjay Raut has led the Sena's charge against the BJP after it refused to accede to the "50:50" deal demand.
On October 25, a day after election results were declared and it became apparent that the BJP was dependent on the Sena to form a stable government, Mr Raut tweeted a cartoon image of a tiger (the Sena party symbol) wearing a clock (the NCP symbol) and sniffing a lotus (the BJP symbol).
The post was captioned "bura na maano Diwali hai (don't feel bad, it is Diwali)" suggesting it was made in jest, but many saw the underlying message as a warning to the BJP that the Shiv Sena was open to joining hands with the NCP to stop the BJP from retaining power in Maharashtra.
With input from PTI