Amidst a nail-biting finish, hard-bargaining between ruling BJP and Shiv Sena has started over the post of the chief minister of Maharashtra and an equal power-sharing ratio.
One thing is clear, the new government would not take charge before Diwali - given the fact that the Shiv Sena's bargaining power has increased significantly.
As results started pouring in, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray spoke over the phone and congratulated each other.
A section of Shiv Sena leaders has been projecting Thackeray's son Aditya, who won the polls from Worli, as the next CM while in their campaign rallies, prime minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister and BJP president Amit Shah had maintained that Fadnavis would continue in the top job.
In separate news conferences, both of them kept media persons guessing with indirect replies on the post of CM and power-sharing ratio but asserted that the mandate is for the BJP-Shiv Sena led MahaYuti to form a government.
"Before the Lok Sabha elections, the 50:50 formula was decided upon," Thackeray said.
"It is time to remind the BJP about the formula arrived at when Amit Bhai visited my home (before Lok Sabha polls)....we had decided on fifty-fifty formula for the alliance...we agreed to contest fewer seats (than the BJP), but I cannot accommodate the BJP every time. I should allow my party to grow," Thackeray said.
He said that whatever would happen would be a transparent process.
"Political parties need to keep their feet on the ground. Otherwise, people show them their place," the Sena chief said, taking a dig at BJP.
Meanwhile, senior Sena leader and former Lok Sabha speaker Manohar Joshi said that Shiv Sena would have the next CM even as party's high-profile spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that there would be 50:50 power-sharing.
Fadnavis said that he had heard what Uddhav said and it is correct. "We have decided (the formula), we would go by that....there is no ambiguity," he said.
"Results are coming....you have to decide whether you want to work more and toil hard in Diwali," he said in a lighter vein and indicating that the government formation may take time.
He, however, said that both BJP and Shiv Sena suffered because of rebels and it was not a gain of Congress-NCP MahaAghadi opposition as their numbers are more or less the same.
I had spoken to 15 of the rebels, they are in touch with me," he said.