Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Monday suggested a power-sharing deal between the BJP and Shiv Sena to end the political uncertainty in Maharashtra. Both parties will get a chance to occupy the chief minister's post under the proposed agreement that has already been discussed with Sena leader Sanjay Raut, he said.
"I talked to Sanjay Rautji about a compromise. I suggested a formula of three years' chief ministership for the BJP and two years for the Shiv Sena, to which he said that the Shiv Sena could think about it if the BJP agrees. I will discuss this with the BJP now," news agency ANI quoted the Union Minister -- who also heads the Republican Party of India -- as saying.
The proposal came hours after Mr Athawale expressed confidence that the BJP and the Shiv Sena would bridge their differences to form the government in Maharashtra again. "I told Amit bhai (BJP chief Amit Shah) that if he mediates, we will find a way out of this problem. To this, he replied: 'Don't worry, everything will be fine. The BJP and the Shiv Sena will come together to form the government'," he said.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena, who have been allies for 35 years now, unofficially parted ways after tussling over government formation in Maharashtra for weeks. While the Shiv Sena claims that its estranged ally had promised it a 50:50 deal with half the cabinet positions and a turn at the Chief Minister's post, Amit Shah has denied giving any such assurance.
Breaking his silence on the matter last week, Amit Shah accused the Shiv Sena of making unacceptable post-poll demands. "Before the elections, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I had said many times in public that Devendra Fadnavis will be the Chief Minister if the alliance wins. Nobody objected back then. Now they have come up with new demands that are not acceptable to us," he said in an interview with ANI last week.
The Shiv Sena is currently in talks with the Congress and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party to cobble up an alliance that would give them a shot at forming the government in Maharashtra. Mr Pawar had met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the likely coalition this evening amid efforts to put together a common minimum programme. "There are some more issues to be sorted out," he said after the meeting.
Maharashtra is currently under President's Rule.
(With inputs from ANI)