Sena sends mixed signals on ties with BJP

Sena sends mixed signals on ties with BJP

Giving mixed signals, the Shiv Sena on Monday staked claim to the post of Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly but appeared open to conciliatory talks with the BJP over participation in the government “whenever it comes forward”.

In a sudden move a day after its chief Uddhav Thackeray served an ultimatum to BJP to come clear within two days on the issue of taking NCP’s support for survival of its government, Shiv Sena submitted a letter to the Assembly Secretary asking him to accord its Legislature Party leader Eknath Shinde Leader of Opposition’s status.

Hours later, Uddhav, while addressing party workers, said the decision to stake claim to LoP’s post was taken because Congress wanted the position on the ground that Sena was part of the BJP-led NDA and, if that were to happen, “we would have been left nowhere”.

After BJP and Sena, Congress is the third largest party in the Assembly with 42 MLAs. Earlier in the day, Uddhav had appeared to shut the door on future talks with BJP when a letter from him seeking LoP’s post for Shinde was delivered to the state Assembly Secretary Anant Kalse.

“A letter written by our President Uddhav Thackeray was submitted to Anant Kalse informing him that Eknath Shinde has been appointed as the leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party,” party spokesperson Neelam Gorhe told reporters.

“Since we are the second largest party in the House with 63 MLAs, it is appropriate to appoint our leader as Leader of Opposition. We expect Shinde’s name to be announced as early as possible,” she said.

However, with Uddhav saying talks were still possible if BJP came forward, suspense over Sena’s participation in the government has been revived once again.

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