Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut met veteran politician Sharad Pawar, the chief of National Congress Party this afternoon amid an impasse in the party's power share negotiations with the BJP. Mr Raut, however, described it as a courtesy call on the occasion of Diwali. Earlier this week, the party had met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari as well, setting off speculation and later calling it a courtesy visit. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's son Aaditya Thackeray also met the Governor today, but he said it was regarding farmers' issues, not government formation.
The NCP has declared that it would sit in the opposition along with ally Congress. But that decision came after initial reports of the party sending feelers to the Sena about a new political configuration.
At the time, the Sena had declared that it would form government only with the BJP. But its plan to get a turn at the Chief Minister's post has since hit a roadblock. The BJP has made it clear that it would not share the top post, and was ready to offer Sena only the Deputy Chief Minister's post.
Amid the tussle, Mr Pawar had appeared to offer moral support to the Sena, saying there was nothing wrong with its demand for timeshare at the top job.
"In the 1990s also, there was a 50-50 formula for the Shiv Sena and the BJP. So they have past experience (in running the government). So the Sena can insist, nothing wrong in that," Mr Pawar had said in an interview with NDTV.
Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi was the Maharashtra Chief Minister from 1995-1999.
This time, Mr Pawar's party had played spoiler for the Sena-BJP combine, notching up 54 seats and keeping them limited to 161 seats -- way below the 220 they were expecting.
The BJP won 105 seats and the Shiv Sena 56 in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly. With the BJP numbers dropping from its 2014 tally of 122, the Sena is out to use leverage and get the maximum benefit.