Mumbai: In a major shift in its strategy, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday said that “whichever” government comes to power in Maharashtra, it will be formed under the leadership of the BJP. The party had so far maintained that it would be a BJP-Sena government.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who submitted his resignation to governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Friday, said that he called Uddhav Thackeray, but the Sena leader neither received nor returned his calls.
“Shiv Sena has closed all doors for talks from the day of results. But the BJP is still open for talks. However, any future discussion will involve the “derogatory” statements made by Sena leaders against the BJP leaders. All remarks must be stopped, if the two parties have to remain together in the government,” he said.
Koshyari had asked him to continue as “acting Chief Minister”, he told reporters.
Addressing a press conference after tendering his resignation, Fadnavis said he and his party were surprised by Uddhav Thackeray’s declaration on the day of the result that all the options are open for Sena. “The mandate given by the people was for the alliance,” he said, adding that BJP was wondering why Thackeray made such a statement.
He said that they (BJP-Shiv Sena) have resolved many issues in last five years but this time the Uddhav Thackeray-led party shut all doors for any talks with the BJP. “I personally called Thack-eray but he did not receive my calls. Therefore, we have not stalled the discussion, Sena has. BJP’s doors are open for discussion,” he added.
Addressing Sena’s claim about the sharing of the Chief Minister’s post he said that no such promise was made. “Let me again make it very clear that no decision was taken on the Chief Minister’s post in my presence. In fact, we had broken off the talks on this issue. I was present at all the deliberations.
Subsequently, the talks resumed but we never discussed sharing of the Chief Minister’s post for 2.5 years,” Fadnavis added. He said that he asked BJP president Amit Shah and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari and they, too, said that no such decision was taken.
Speaking on the senior BJP leader Sanjay Raut’s meeting with Congress leader Sharad Pawar, he said, “The Sena did not hold a discussion with us, but went to hold a discussion with the Congress and NCP, against whom? Mahayuti had fought the election.”
“The Sena didn’t have time for us but they can hold a talk with the NCP and Congress thrice in a day. The Sena had decided to go with NCP-Congress from the day when the Sena chief had said that they have other options,” the BJP leader added.
He also raised the issue of the alleged criticism of their leaders by the Shiv Sena leaders and its mouthpiece Saamana. “Despite being in the power at the Centre and the state, our top leaders are being criticised. We are not going to tolerate this practice,” he added.
“We have been told that they (Sena) are speaking on the policy not on any individual. But instead criticising the policy, we have seen the criticism on the individual. The world has recognised the leadership of Modi, but unfortunately, they (Sena) has been criticising Modi. Our opponents, including the Congress, have not made such remarks against Modi. This has pained us,” he said....