The tug of war between the BJP and the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra continued on Tuesday with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis saying that the post of CM was never offered to ally Shiv Sena.
Besides, Fadnavis also made it clear in as many words that he would be back in the top job and enjoys the full confidence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
In a sharp reaction, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray cancelled a meeting of negotiators of the two saffron allies.
The two ruling partners, BJP and Shiv Sena, who had got 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, is way above the magic figure of 145 but both seem to be testing each other's patience for the last five days - but on Tuesday, ran out of it.
The Shiv Sena is asking for a 50-50 power-sharing ratio and rotation of the CM's chair among the two allies for two and a half years each, which they say, was decided in the Uddhav-Shah closed-door meeting in February for a seat and power-sharing deal for the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabha polls.
"To the best of my knowledge, the CM's post was not offered to them...Amit Bhai (Shah) has confirmed nothing has been decided on CM post to Shiv Sena. No formula is decided yet," Fadnavis said during an informal chat with journalists.
Asked whether there was any demand on the post of Deputy Chief Minister, he said Shiv Sena has not made any demand yet.
"If they make a demand, we will decide on merit," he said.
When queried whether the post of Deputy CM will be given to Yuva Sena President Aaditya Thackeray, he said, "It is for Shiv Sena to decide what role he would play."
Fadnavis, an astute politician, said that very soon a "BJP-led government" will be in place giving a stable and efficient government of MahaYuti for five years.
He said that on Wednesday, the BJP legislative party will meet to elect its new leader. "You all know that...just wait for a day....Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and BJP President (and Union Home Minister) Amit Shah has said about it," Fadnavis said.
It may be recalled in election rallies, Modi had said "Desh me Narendra, Pradesh me Devendra" (Narendra in the country, Devendra in the state) while Shah had described him as "current and future CM" of Maharashtra.
On the cancellation of the Sena-BJP meet, Sena leaders said that while the BJP was to be represented by Prakash Javadekar and Bhupendra Yadav, the Sena by Uddhav aides Subhash Desai and Sanjay Raut.
"There was no point holding talks if the Chief Minister (Fadnavis) say that there was no agreement on sharing CM's post....so the meeting was cancelled," a senior leader said.
Some Shiv Sainiks also released an old video in which Fadnavis is talking about the power-sharing agreement.