"Sena Taught A Lesson By BJP": Ramdas Athawale On Maharashtra Government

On Friday, as negotiations between the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP appeared to near fruition, Ramdas Athawale said "I don't know whether this government will run even for six months..."

RPI chief Ramdas Athawale said the BJP had taught the Shiv Sena a lesson


Union Minister Ramdas Athawale declared this morning that the BJP had taught the Sena, its former ally in the state, a lesson. On Friday he had warned the Shiv Sena that an alliance with the Congress and the NCP to form the government in Maharashtra could not last. Mr Athawale also said he knew a BJP government would come to power and suggested that the NCP joining hands with the BJP could have happened because the Congress had dragged its heels over an alliance with it and the Sena.

Mr Athawale's comment came mere hours after a massive overnight twist in Maharashtra that saw the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis take oath as Chief Minister and the Ajit Pawar, the nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, become Deputy Chief Minister.

"The Sena has been taught a lesson by BJP. Amit Shah was saying 'everything will be all right' and now everything is good," Mr Athawale said.

"I knew a BJP government would be formed but not so quickly. Maybe NCP was seeing that Congress is a little unwilling... but whatever happened is for the good of the people of Maharashtra. They have a government," he told reporters, adding that one or two of Sharad Pawar and NCP leaders Praful Patel and Supriya Sule may become ministers.

He also appealed to Mr Pawar to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the centre.

Mr Athawale reminded the Sena that last week Home Minister Amit Shah had said "don't worry, everything will be fine" and that the BJP would form the government when he had discussed the Maharashtra situation with him.

"I told Amit bhai that if he mediates then a way can be found out to which he (Amit Shah) replied 'Don't worry, everything will be fine. The BJP and the Shiv Sena would come together to form government'," Mr Athawale was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The BJP has indeed formed the new government in Maharashtra... but it isn't with support from the Sena. In a surprising turn of events this morning, hours after President's Rule was revoked in the state - at 5.47 am - Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari swore in Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar.

"Maharashtra needed a stable government, not a khichidi shaasan (mishmash government)," Mr Fadnavis said after taking oath, adding that the Shiv Sena "did not follow people's mandate". "We were invited by the Governor to form government. I thank NCP and Ajit Pawar for supporting us," he added.

Devendra Fadnavis has to prove his majority by November 29.

Over the past week Mr Athawale had attempted to play the role of mediator between the Sena and the BJP, first suggesting the BJP should have agreed to the Sena's demand that the Chief Minister's post be rotated after 2.5 years and then suggesting a revised split to the Shiv Sena.

"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... I will discuss this with the BJP now," he said.

His suggestions were snubbed by the Shiv Sena. "He doesn't need to worry about us," Mr Raut said.

On Friday, as negotiations between the Sena, the Congress and the NCP appeared to be entering its final stages - Sena leader Sanjay Raut said letters of support would be presented to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari - Ramdas Athawale had said "(Sena chief) Uddav Thackeray's decision of shaking hands with NCP and Congress is against Bal Thackeray's ideology".

"I don't know whether this government will run even for six months... This government won't last for long," he said.

With input from ANI

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