Shiv Sena should not be adamant on demand for chief minister post: Athawale


New Delhi: Amid a tussle between the BJP and the Shiv Sena over government formation in Maharashtra, their ally RPI(A) leader Ramdas Athawale on Tuesday said Sena should not be “adamant” on its demand for the chief minister’s post as it rightly belongs to the BJP.

Athawale also said he is hopeful that Union Minister Nitin Gadkari would be able to resolve the situation as he enjoys respects across party lines.

“I am going to meet Gadkariji and will discuss the current situation in Maharashtra. He is senior leader respected by everybody and I am sure they will definitely find a way to resolve this crisis,” Athawale, who is a Union Minister, said.

Since the Maharashtra assembly results were announced on October 24, the BJP and its ‘Mahayuti’ ally Sena are locked in a bitter battle over sharing of power in the next government. The bone of contention is the Sena’s demand for the post of chief minister on rotational basis with the BJP and a “50:50 formula” for allocating ministries.

The BJP won 105 seats in the polls followed by ally Sena (56), the NCP (54) and the Congress (44) in the 288-member Assembly.

“BJP is the single largest party and there is a sizeable gap between the seats of the BJP and others so the chief minister post rightly belongs to it and not to Shiv Sena. The Sena can be given deputy chief minister’s post,” he said.

Athawale claimed that the BJP is ready for 50:50 allocation of cabinet portfolios and also to give some important ministries to Sena.

The people of Maharashtra have given the mandate to the BJP and the Shiv Sena to form the government not to the Congress and the NCP, he said.

“If Sena forms a government in alliance with the NCP and the Congress, it will not be in the interest of any political party… it will be against the mandate given by the people,” he said.

His remarks on Sena came a day after NCP supremo Sharad Pawar met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the current political situation in Maharashtra, which led to speculation about these three parties coming together.