Maharashtra Fix: Both ShivSena and BJP trying to take support from independent candidates

Sena has demanded a written assurance from the BJP that it will implement the formula for equal sharing of power on October 2

Mumbai: Both the BJP and the ShivSena are locked in a battle of one-upmanship over sharing of power in the next government in Maharashtra. On October 27, both of them enlisted the support of five MLAs–three Independents and two from a small outfit–between them in a bid to boost their respective numerical strength, which has taken a beating in the recently held assembly polls.

The three Independent MLAs who have declared their support to the BJP are Geeta Jain, Rajendra Raut, and Ravi Rana.

Geeta Jain, a BJP rebel who won Mira Bhayandar seat in Thane district by defeating the party’s official nominee Narendra Mehta in this elections, has extended her support to the BJP after meeting Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis here.

Rajendra Raut is a BJP rebel, who has won against ShivSena’s official candidate Dilip Sopal from Barshi seat in Solapur district.

Ravi Rana trounced his close rival Priti Band of the ShivSena from Badnera seat in Amravati district.

Meanwhile, Jain and Raut announced their support after meeting the CM at his residence, Rana has written a letter to this effect.

Earlier, Achalpur MLA Bachchu Kadu and his colleague Rajkumar Patel, the legislator from Melghat, both from the Amravati district in the Vidarbha region, offered support to the Shiv Sena. Kadu also heads the Prahar Janshakti Party (PJP).

When she was asked about her meeting with Bahujan Vikas Aghadi chief and Vasai MLA Hitendra Thakur on Saturday, Jain said she had visited him to express her gratitude for supporting her in the election campaign.

Jain’s visit to Thakur, who was supported by the Congress and NCP during polls, had raised speculation about her future political move.

On Kadu’s support, a ShivSena leader said that it had increased the bargaining power of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party vis-a-vis BJP.

“We adjusted with the BJP between 2014-19, now it is time to have our government,” said Uddhav Thackeray.

Since the election results are out the BJP’s tally has gone down compared to its 2014 performance, the Sena has hardened its stand apparently to seek more pound of flesh in power.

ShivSena chief Uddhav Thackeray since raised his pitch for “equal sharing” of power, which apparently entails chief ministership for his son Aaditya Thackeray and allotment of plum portfolios to Sena MLAs, in the next government.

On October 24 when results of the polls were being announced, Thackeray had reminded the BJP of the 50:50 formula “agreed upon” between himself, Shah and Fadnavis ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Sena has demanded a written assurance from the BJP that it will implement the formula for equal sharing of power on October 2.

Thackeray had told MLAs of his party that though “other options” were open for him, he didn’t want to explore them given that the “Hindutva ideology binds the alliance of the BJP and Sena.”

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