Tussle goes beyond CMship, Sena wants key portfolios

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. (PTI Photo)

It isn't just a tussle for the post of Chief Minister or a deputy but the BJP-Shiv Sena difference goes much beyond - including allocation of key portfolios.  

In the outgoing government, the Shiv Sena has got a raw deal from the Devendra Fadnavis-led dispensation. 

There are three basic reasons for that - the BJP and Shiv Sena had contested the elections separately in 2014, the Fadnavis government came to power through 'indirect and unconditional' support of NCP,  and Sena sat in Opposition benches only to walk into the government a month later. 

In the outgoing Vidhan Sabha, Sena has a strength of 63 and BJP 122, while in 2019 polls, Sena has got 56 and BJP 105.

"Ratiowise, it is nearly the same but it makes it difficult for the BJP to reach the magic number target of 145 single-handedly in the 288-member Assembly thus increasing the bargaining power of Shiv Sena," an insider from BJP-Sena alliance told DH on Tuesday.

In 2014, the Shiv Sena got five Cabinet berths - Industries,  Public Health & Family Welfare, Environment, Public Works Department (Public Undertakings) and Transport and seven Ministers of State.

In 1995, when the Shiv Sena-BJP came to power,  Shiv Sena's tally was 73 and BJP's 65. While Dr Manohar Joshi and Narayan Rane, then with Sena, shared the post of CM,  their deputy was the late Gopinath Munde.

BJP also got portfolios like Home,  Power,  Finance. But, Sena kept the Revenue portfolio throughout.

"Those days were different... Bal Thackeray and Pramod Mahajan were alive,  they sealed the deal and despite differences and occasional public spats, things were smooth," he said.

Now, the Shiv Sena is insisting on some of the key portfolios - Home, Revenue, Urban Development,  Housing, Finance and Planning, Rural Development, Power. 

"In the outgoing state government, the Sena did not get many portfolios to increase public contact... at Central level they have just one minister Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises,  in 2014 and 2019," he added.

"Negotiations take time,  things would be all right by next week the government would be in place," a senior BJP leader said,  adding that Fadnavis and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray share camaraderie and things will be all right. 

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