February 18, 2020
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CM Fadnavis, Sena Leader Raote Separately Meet Governor Amid Maha Power Tussle

The two allies have been caught in a high-pitch battle over ministerial portfolios ahead of the state's government formation.

CM Fadnavis, Sena Leader Raote Separately Meet Governor Amid Maha Power Tussle
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
CM Fadnavis, Sena Leader Raote Separately Meet Governor Amid Maha Power Tussle

As the tussle continued over sharing of power in the next Maharashtra government, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote separately met the state's governor on Monday morning in Mumbai in what has been dubbed as a 'courtesy call'.

Even though their parties have locked horns over the chief minister's post and power balance between the two allies in the state, the parties claimed this would be a simple visit to extend Diwali greetings to the governor. 

Fadnavis met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari early in the morning followed by Raote, reported India Today. 

While the parties have claimed there won't be a political discussion, after the meeting, Fadnavis tweeted saying, "Apprised him [the Governor] on the current scenario."

Sources from both parties have also told PTI that the meetings would not be political.

"This is a festival of lights and Raote will meet Governor Koshyari to extend Diwali greetings on behalf of the Sena. There will be no political discussion," a senior leader of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said.

Besides, a close aide of Fadnavis also told PTI that the chief minister will be meeting the governor to wish him for the Diwali festival. "Any political discussion is unlikely," he added.

As the BJP's tally went down in the state Assembly elections held last week compared to its 2014 performance, its ally Shiv Sena's chief Uddhav Thackeray raised a pitch for "equal sharing" of power.

Thackeray reminded the BJP of the 50:50 formula "agreed upon" between himself, BJP president Amit Shah and Fadnavis ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

On Saturday, he demanded a written assurance from the BJP for implementing an "equal formula for sharing of power" before holding talks on staking the claim to form the next coalition government in the state. Thackeray's demands reportedly entail chief ministership for his son Aaditya Thackeray and allotment of plum portfolios to Sena MLAs.

In the just-concluded state polls to the 288-member Assembly, the BJP won 105 seats against 122 in the 2014 state elections. 

The Sena's tally also came down to 56 seats from 63 in 2014. But that did not deter the party from attacking its senior ally.

On Sunday, in a column published in Sena mouthpiece Saamana, the party's leader Sanjay Raut said, "The Sena won less seats this time, 56 compared to 63 in 2014, but it has the remote control of power".

"The dream that the Shiv Sena will drag itself behind the BJP is busted (after poll results)... Not taking anyone for granted is the message," wrote Raut, the executive editor of Saamana and also the chief whip of the party in Parliament.

The column hinted that the Sena would stay firm on its demands before government formation with the BJP.

Hitting out at its ally further, he wrote, "The BJP's strategy of contesting 164 seats and winning 144 of them was rejected by voters. The election result is the defeat of unethical thoughts of increasing the tally by getting key Congress-NCP leaders to join the BJP, by luring them or threatening them."

On Sunday, both parties also enlisted the support of three MLAs between them--one Independent and two from a small outfit-- in order to increase their respective numerical strength.

Thackeray had earlier told MLAs of his party that though "other options" were open for him, he didn't want to explore them given that the alliance of the BJP and Sena is bound by the "Hindutva ideology."

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