The BJP and the Shiv Sena are holding separate meetings with the Maharashtra governor today amid ongoing tussle over government formation in the state. While Shiv Sena's Diwakar Raote met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at 10.30 am, CM Devendra Fadnavis also visited the governor at 11 am. Both the parties have however maintained that the meeting is just a courtesy call.
After meeting with the governor, Shiv Sena's Diwakar Raote said, "This was just a Diwali meet. Since 1993, I have been coming to meet the governor on the festival. I met the governor and his family and wished him on Diwali."
"It just that I got an appointment a little early so I am here. No political talks at all," Diwakar Raote said. Minutes later, CM Devendra Fadnavis also arrived at Raj Bhawan to meet Governor Koshyari.
The meeting comes amid an ongoing feud over the chief minister post in Maharashtra. The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance has an absolute majority in Maharashtra assembly. BJP has 105 MLAs. Shiv Sena has 56 MLAs.
On Saturday, the newly-elected Shiv Sena MLAs demanded that both the parties run the Maharashtra government for two and a half years each. The Sena MLAs have demanded that Aaditya Thackeray be made the chief minister in the next government for 2.5 years.
"In our meeting, it was decided that like Amit Shah had promised 50-50 formula before Lok Sabha polls. Similarly, both allies should get a chance to run the state government for 2.5 years each," Thane City Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik said
However, the BJP seems not enthused. Fadnavis had repeatedly said during campaigning that he would return as the chief minister of the NDA.
In their poll rallies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah had also endorsed Fadnavis. The Sena won 56 seats, seven less than in 2014, in the 288-member House.
The Sena has more leverage now as the BJP, whose tally came down from 122 in 2014 to 105, needs it more to cross the halfway mark of 144. Both parties are now trying to enlist the support of Independent MLAs, most of them rebels belonging to either party, to score over others in the bitter battle of political oneupmanship.
The increased numerical strength will obviously raise the bargaining power at a time when both the parties have intensified the political maneuvering to dominate the next government.