Mumbai: In a major revelation that virtually spills the beans on the highly-publicised electoral alliance between the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party, top Sena leader and Maharashtra minister Ramdas Kadam said on Wednesday that the pact was finalised “only after the BJP agreed to share the Chief Minister’s post”.
He even warned that if the BJP is not keen on adhering to its commitment, “then it is free to scrap the alliance immediately”, setting Maharashtra’s political cauldron boiling with elections round the corner.
Speaking to media persons, Kadam said that the alliance was primarily agreed on two major points: equal sharing of the Chief Minister’s post and shifting the Nanar mega petroleum complex from the eco-sensitive coastal Konkan region.
The commitment between the top leaders was that the two parties would hold the Chief Minister’s post for two-and-half-years each, as demanded by the Shiv Sena.
However, if senior BJP leaders make statements that the party which would get more seats in the Assembly would decide on the Chief Minister, it was objectionable, an irked Kadam said.
He was reacting to BJP Minister Chandrakant Patil’s statement and dared the partner to “break the alliance immediately” if it didn’t intend to abide by the understanding.
On Tuesday, IANS had reported on how the suspense continued between the alliance partners on the Chief Minister’s post.
Kadam’s utterances have ended the suspense as neither party made a clear statement before the media nor took any questions from journalists at the press conference on Monday when they declared the alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections.
That press conference was addressed by BJP President Amit Shah, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The formula announced was 25 and 23 Lok Sabha seats respectively for the BJP and the Sena. For the 288-member assembly, after accommodating other allies, the two parties would equally share the remaining seats. There was, however, ambiguity on the exact formula that led to the alliance.
Interestingly, Uddhav Thackeray’s son, Yuva Sena President Aditya Thackeray, gave clear indications that the Sena may not compromise on the Chief Minister’s post.
Reportedly nursing high-level political ambitions, Aditya had tweeted late on Monday: “Both the parties will fight an equal number of (assembly) seats and irrespective of seats won, will share power and posts.”
This was interpreted as a possibility of rotating the Chief Minister’s post between the two allies, if returned to power, and also the possibility of creating the post of Deputy Chief Minister.
However, Kadam’s statements on Wednesday have finally cleared the air on the electoral agreement.
When contacted by IANS, BJP minister Patil’s aide declined to comment on the issue.