BJP, Shiv Sena officially back together

BJP, Shiv Sena officially back together

The brief political uncertainty in Maharashtra came to an end on Thursday with the Shiv Sena reuniting with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and deciding to be  part of the Devendra Fadnavis-led government.

The Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray, son of late Balasaheb Thackeray, has been offered 12 berths in the ministry – five Cabinet-rank and seven ministers of state.

However, the BJP would maintain its dominance – and there would not be the post of Deputy Chief Minister – a practice in Maharashtra’s coalition politics in the last two decades.

With allies like Ramdas Athawale-led RPI, Mahadev Jankar-led Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, Vinayak Mete-led Shiv Sangram and Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana set to be accommodated in the government or appointed chairpersons and presidents of government-owned corporations and boards, the new government would be called the Mahayuti or the grand alliance.

At the time of going to press, talks were underway at various levels on the portfolios – among the allies. Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao would administer oath of office and secrecy at 4 pm on Friday at the Vidhan Bhavan premises.

“People of Maharashtra wanted BJP and Shiv Sena to be together. The party workers wanted it. When I say this, there is a reason as the mandate was clearly against the Congress and NCP,” Fadnavis said while announcing the expansion of the government.

He said the two parties were allies for 25 years based on ideology, but parted ways ahead of polls.

“I spoke to Uddhav  that the Shiv Sena should join the government and he responded positively. Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Cooperation Minister Chandrakantdada Patil held talks with him and later on all of us worked out the broad outline,” he said.

He said that on Friday, 10 Shiv Sena members would join the government and eight to ten BJP members would be sworn in. “We are in talks with allies, whether they would join now or later (after the Nagpur session),” he said.

With Shiv Sena joining BJP, the government has a clear majority in the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. The BJP has 121 MLAs while the Shiv Sena 63.

The NCP, which has 41 MLAs, had announced outside support to the government, which was sworn in on October 31. With Sena now set to join the government, Fadnavis can breathe easy during the winter session of legislature, beginning in Nagpur on December 8.

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