Sena was in touch with NCP, Cong before Maha poll results:Raut

The Shiv Sena was in touch with the NCP and the Congress before the results of the Maharashtra assembly polls came out in October last year as it knew that the BJP would not keep its "promise", senior party leader Sanjay Raut claimed here on Wednesday.

Raut also said it was Sharad Pawar who first decided that the NCP, Congress and the Sena will join hands to form a coalition government.

Notably, ahead of the formation of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA), Pawar had always maintained that the NCP's mandate was to sit in opposition.

Raut made the disclosure during an interview to the Lokmat media group at its award function.

"It was (NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena coming together to form a coalition government) first decided by Sharad Pawar. I went to both the Congress and the NCP and consistently worked on this thought of coming together," he said.

When asked whether the three parties had decided about a coalition before the assembly poll results, which were declared on October 24, Raut replied, "You can say so".

"We knew it. In fact I was sure that the BJP will not keep its word (on sharing the post of chief minister with the Shiv Sena)," he said.

Responding to a query, the Rajya Sabha (RS) MP said the Sena had realised that the BJP would not keep its word when the party registered a massive victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

"A lot of things happened during the seat-sharing talks (with the BJP) for the assembly polls which made us believe that the BJP would not keep its promise," Raut claimed.

He also exuded confidence that the Sena-led coalition government will last the full five-year term.

"Our government is not like a test tube baby. It formally took birth, it was christened, and it will celebrate its birthday also," he said.

Raut said the Uddhav Thackeray-led government enjoys a strong support of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, and "unlike other multi-party governments it cannot be called as a 'khichadisarkar".

He refuted claims that the Sena has accepted a secondary position in the government under Sharad Pawar.

"The formation of a government was necessary and all the three parties came together to give Maharashtra a new direction," Raut added.

When asked about the Sena suddenly joining hands with its traditional rivals Congress and NCP, Raut asked "are these two parties belonged to Pakistan?"

"There are political differences, but leaders from all the three parties love their country," he said.

Raut said the Congress could have gone much ahead (in numbers) "had its senior leadership in Delhi concentrated on the party stronghold of Maharashtra". 

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