Amit Shah calls off meeting with Thackeray after war of words

MUMBAI: Hours after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis denied the Shiv Sena was assured the post of the CM for 2.5 years as part of a power sharing “formula”, Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday cancelled his party’s meeting with the BJP.

Amit Shah calls off meeting with Thackeray after war of words

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis (R) with Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray. PTI file photo

 

Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service
Mumbai, October 29

Bharatiya Janata Party president has called off a scheduled meeting with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday after the two parties exchanged barbs over sharing of power in Maharashtra.

According to BJP sources here, Shah was scheduled to meet Thackeray at the latter's residence Matoshree to sew up the power-sharing arrangement after last week's assembly elections. Shah was officially to be in Mumbai to attend the meeting of the BJP legislative party in the Maharashtra Assembly on Wednesday.

However, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on Tuesday that Shah would not be attending the BJP event on Wednesday. Fadnavis also denied that the BJP had agreed to sharing the chief minister's post with the Shiv Sena ahead of the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.

"The Shiv Sena was not promised CM's post for two- and-a-half years when the alliance was finalised done before the Lok Sabha elections," Fadnavis told reporters here this morning. The chief minister's statement comes days after Uddhav Thackeray claims stitching up a 50:50 power-sharing deal with Amit Shah earlier this year. The Sena had also demanded that the two parties sign a written agreement to share power.

Fadnavis further indicated that he would continue as chief minister as part of a BJP-led alliance government.

"Tomorrow the BJP legislative party will elect its leader. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already announced the name and the meeting will be a mere formality," he said. Modi during the election campaign had indicated that Fadnavis would continue to head the government.

Following his statement, the Shiv Sena accused Fadnavis of back-tracking on the BJP's commitment to share power. The party also released a video clip from Fadnavis' press conference in February this year where he is shown talking about the two parties sharing posts and responsibilities in the state government.

The clip captioned "Jara Yaad karo Jabani" was released on social media this afternoon. The Shiv Sena also stated that preliminary negotiations between the two parties which were due to start this afternoon stood cancelled. Shiv Sena leaders Subhash Desai and Sanjay Raut were to meet with BJP leaders Prakash Javadekar and Bhupendra Yadav to discuss allocation of portfolios ahead of tomorrow's meeting between Shah and Thackeray.

Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena's MP and editor of party mouthpiece Saamna, taunted the BJP saying there was no one else to ally with the latter.

"There's no Dushyant Chautala here whose father is in jail.... We practice the politics of truth in Maharashtra. We are seeing what's happening and how low people could stoop," Raut said.

Discussions

Senior BJP leader Chandrakant Patil on Tuesday said Amit Shah and Uddhav Thackeray will finalise the contours of the “50:50 formula”.

According to sources in the BJP, the discussion and agreement reached with the Sena on formalising the alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha elections this year, was on “equitable distribution of power and not on the post of the chief minister.”

Patil also distanced himself from the seat-sharing agreement the Thackeray senior has been talking about.

“That formula was proposed ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and I am not aware of it,” said Patil, who became new president of the BJP after the poll results.

Meanwhile, senior sources in the BJP clarified that the discussion and agreement formalised with the Sena ahead of the Lok Sabha polls was on “equitable distribution of power between the two parties and not on the post of the chief minister”. With PTI

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