Union minister Ramdas Athawale hints at Shiv Sena-BJP compromise in Maharashtra

Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Monday claimed that the Shiv Sena has hinted that it is still open to the idea of forming a government in Maharashtra with the BJP despite parting ways after a bitter spat over the issue of a rotating chief minister.

“I had talked to Sanjay Raut ji about a compromise. I suggested him a formula of 3 years (CM from BJP) and 2 years (CM from Shiv Sena) to which he said that if BJP agrees then Shiv Sena can think about it. I will discuss this with BJP,” ANI quoted Athawale as saying.

On Sunday, Athawale had indicated that the BJP and the Shiv Sena would come together to form the government in the state and quoted Union home minister Amit Shah as telling him, “Don’t worry, everything will be fine. The BJP and the Shiv Sena would come together to form government.”

It is not clear if Athawale, who heads the Republican Party of India, is playing peacemaker on his own to bring together the BJP and the Shiv Sena which had been its oldest ally.

Sanjay Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP and the editor of the Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana has been a trenchant critic of the BJP and has accused the party of reneging on a 50:50 agreement that would involve splitting the chief ministership for two and a half years for the two parties.

The BJP insists that there was no deal on the chief ministership and that Devendra Fadnavis was always projected to get the top job in the state.

No party has the required numbers to form a government in Maharashtra. The BJP which is the largest party with 105 lawmakers in the 288-member House is short of 40 members for a simple majority.

The Shiv Sena has been scrambling for support from the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress to form a government but a deal has remained elusive as the state continues to remain under President’s rule which was imposed on November 13.

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