Ending its acrimonious split with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena will join the Maharashtra government tomorrow with 12 of its nominees, including five of cabinet rank, set to be inducted into the ministry.
The coming together of the two saffron parties, which split before the Assembly elections and fought against each other, was announced by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who held parleys with Shiv Sena leaders in the last few days.
The induction of BJP’s oldest saffron ally will give the government a clear majority of 184 in a House of 288. The BJP has 121 MLAs while the Shiv Sena 63. The NCP, which has 41 MLAs, had announced outside support to the state government, which was sworn in on October 31.
With Sena now set to join the government, Fadnavis can breathe easy during the winter session of legislature, beginning in Nagpur on December 8.
In an indication of BJP’s dominance, Fadnavis ruled out having a deputy chief minister in the ministry.
12 ministers from Sena, including five of cabinet rank will be inducted, the chief minister said. Around 8 to 10 BJP ministers will take oath tomorrow, he added.
The swearing in will take place at 4 PM at the Vidhan Bhawan premises.
Fadnavis said people voted against Congress and NCP. “People wanted BJP and Sena to form government in Maharashtra.”
“We could not take decisions on some issues. So BJP formed government. Workers of BJP and Sena wanted both the parties to be in government. Even legislators of both the parties wanted us to be in government together,” he said.
“I spoke to Uddhavji that the Sena should join the government and he responded positively. Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan held talks with him and later on all of us worked out the modalities,” he said.
“We will form a coordination committee and will jointly contest zilla parishad and Municipal polls. We are two different parties and we have our own views on various issues,” the chief minister said.
“We took a stance to be in the government together keeping in view the mandate people have given. We respect the mandate. We were together for 25 years and we will continue to be together in this government and even later,” Fadnavis said.
“For 25 years we have resolved issues through talks and we will do so even now,” he said, when asked about the contradictory views of the two parties on some issues.
“We will soon take a decision on including other alliance partners in the government,” Fadnavis said.
Senior Sena leader Subhash Desai, who was present along with Fadnavis, said “both the parties have decided to provide a strong government to Maharashtra.”
“Our effort will be to provide good governance. We are confident that we will respect the mandate given by people of Maharashtra,” Desai said.
The 25-year-old BJP-Shiv Sena alliance had ended on September 25, just two days before deadline for filing papers for the October 15 Assembly polls ended, amid continued deadlock over seat-sharing.
“We have conveyed our decision to snap ties to Shiv Sena. The decision was taken with a heavy heart,” Fadnavis had then told reporters.
A miffed Sena sat in the opposition and its leader Eknath Shinde was given Leader of Opposition status.
But some in BJP were wary of NCP chief Sharad Pawar and were making attempts to rope in Sena.