Even as the Shiv Sena draws closer to establishing a coalition government with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress in Maharashtra, a party MLA today threatened to "smash the head" of anybody who tries to poach his fellow-representatives through bribery or blackmail.
Sena MLA Abdul Sattar started by telling former ally BJP that "poaching or purchasing democratically elected representatives" was illegal in a democracy. "Our party is not some retail shop to buy MLAs from. If anybody tries to poach our MLAs, we will smash his head and break his legs too. However, the Sena will also summon an ambulance for the person and arrange for his medical treatment," news agency ANI quoted the politician, who represents Sillod assembly constituency in Aurangabad district, as saying.
Mr Sattar's remark comes at a time of hectic political activity in Maharashtra, where the Congress and NCP are laying the ground to ally with the Shiv Sena in spite of ideological differences. Sources have claimed that a coalition government could be put in place by the coming weekend.
Earlier this month, the Shiv Sena and the Congress had moved their MLAs away from the public eye over concerns of them being "poached" by the BJP. While the Uddhav Thackeray-led party sequestered its elected representatives at a resort on Madh Island, the Congress whisked theirs away to Jaipur in Rajasthan. The BJP, however, rejected allegations that it was trying to lure opposition MLAs to reach the elusive majority mark of 145 in the Maharashtra assembly.
Although the BJP and Shiv Sena contested the October 21 assembly elections together to win 105 and 56 seats respectively, they fell out after the regional party persisted on its demand for sharing the chief ministerial post on a rotational basis. President's Rule was declared in the state, and the Sena began negotiating for an alliance with former political rivals NCP and Congress in earnest.
"A letter signed by the MLAs of the three parties will be handed over to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday," Sanjay Raut told NDTV earlier today. Sources also indicated that "if all goes well, the swearing-in ceremony could happen as early as Sunday or Monday".
(With inputs from ANI)