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Uddhav’s Demands & Fadnavis’ Offers: ‘Chanakya’ to Broker Deal?

A power tusssle between the BJP and Shiv Sena is out in the open.

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Uddhav Thackeray now has the remote control of power in Maharashtra...

Shiv Sena has the keys to Maharashtra...

Taakad vadhtiye (the strength is rising)

These are the kind of headlines that the Shiv Sena is putting out day after day through the party mouthpiece Saamna...

A power tussle between the two allies is out in the open and BJP's Devendra Fadnavis and Sena leader Diwakar Raote also met the Governor separately, reportedly to wish him “Happy Diwali”.

Speculation is rife that BJP President Amit Shah will meet Uddhav Thackeray on 30 October. But with BJP at 105 seats and Sena at 56, you might think how can Sena take such a tone? Here's what the Sena is demanding.

Demand 1: Rotational CM on 2.5-Year Basis

Shiv Sainikala mukhyamantri banavnyache Balasahebanna vachan dile hote” (I had promised Balasaheb that a Shiv Sainik will be the CM one day), is what Uddhav had said multiple times before polling.

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Reports of Aaditya Thackeray being made the deputy CM were doing the rounds. But after the results, the newly-elected MLAs of Shiv Sena have in a meeting over the weekend requested Uddhav that Aaditya be made the chief minister in the next government.

According to The Quint’s sources, the BJP is ready to offer the deputy CM post to the Sena, but not the CM’s chair.

BJP's reluctance towards the rotational CM formula is understandable.

If we go by history, this formula has been disastrous, be it the deal between Mayawati and Kalyan Singh in UP, Mufti Sayeed and Ghulam Nabi Azad in J&K or Yediyurappa and Kumaraswamy in Karnataka.

What Does this Mean For Fadnavis?

Creating an alternate power centre, Fadnavis, who has emerged as the supreme leader of the BJP-RSS in the state, will be seen sharing command with the smaller ally, and giving in to the demand of rotational CM's post will only make the Sena look like the BJP's equal in the state.

Demand 2: More Representation in the Cabinet

Out of 22 ministers in Fadnavis' previous Cabinet, 16 were from the BJP and 5 were from the Sena. Now, with a 50-50 power share formula, the Sena is demanding representation of more MLAs in the Cabinet and also some key portfolios.

Sources tell The Quint that the BJP is ready to give excise, PWD, law and justice and forest ministries to the Sena.

What Does this Mean for Fadnavis?

Giving not just more, but some key portfolios to the Sena will mean boosting its prominence in state governance and decision-making.

Moreover accommodating more Shiv Sainiks will mean having to drop and upset some senior state BJP leaders from the Cabinet. It will only fuel the internal resistance and pressure that Fadnavis faces from within the party...

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Has Sena’s Bargaining Power Really Risen?

According to the Sena, yes; but if the NCP is brought into the scenario, Sharad Pawar, in the past 4 days, has quelled rumours of joining hands with the Sena multiple times.

Pawar in Baramati said that they have the mandate to stay in Opposition, which means the Sena has nowhere to go other than the BJP.

Pawar had given a similar jolt to the Sena in 2014 as well when it had declared support to the BJP which had then won 122 seats. Moreover, joining hands with the NCP will only confirm the Opposition's allegations that the Sena was a part of the alliance only for the sake of power.

All Depends on ‘Chanakya’ Shah?

Now it all depends on Amit Shah's visit to Mumbai scheduled for 30 October. The BJP hopes Shah will be able to placate the Sena and the party can stake claim to form the government comfortably. Till then the 56-MLA Sena may continue its 56-inch posturing.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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