MAHA MINISTRY …BJP rules out CM post for Shiv Sena after half term; Sena faces several odds

MUMBAI: The Congress party poured cold water on the hopes of the Shiv Sena to rebel against its ally BJP and form a government with support from NCP and the Congress. This, after the BJP rejected its demand for a change of CM post after half the term, to its young leader Aditya Thackeray. The BJP had won 105 seats and the Shiv Sena 56 seats in the present assembly polls.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, on word from central BJP leadership, has said there is no question of giving the CM post to Shiv Sena at a later stage. There was no such agreement before the polls between the Sena and BJP chief Amit Shah, he asserted.
While some state Congress leaders, eager to grab power, hinted that the Congress could back a Shiv Sena government, the central Congress leadership rejected such talks. The Congress cannot jell well with the Shiv Sena’s ideology, it said, in an obvious reference to the anti-Muslim, anti-non-Maharashtrian stands being taken by the Shiv Sena since its inception. Shiv Sena wants to make Mumbai its exclusive turf ever since it grabbed power in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation four decades ago and went on to share power with the BJP in the state government too.
Two days ago, the Shiv Sena also demanded sharing of power on a 50:50 basis in government, though the BJP has twice the number of MLAs in the new assembly coming into force after the October 21 assembly polls.
Meanwhile, in a new development on Tuesday, some 45 Shiv Sena MLAs seemed to warn the party leadership against prolonging the ministry formation by the BJP-Sena alliance, as a consequence of the haggling over CM post. A senior Sena leader said these MLAs might back Fadnavis to form the government, if the Shiv Sena leadership refused to fall in line. Whether this could happen or not, it is too early to say, according to some BJP leaders. Chances are that the Shiv Sena will shelve its demands and join government. 
At present, among the newly elected members in the assembly, which is yet to be formed, the Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar has 54 MLAs and the Congress party 44 MLAs. Sharad Pawar managed to do well in the Maratha areas in western Maharashtra. IHN-NN


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