Shiv Sena may join government: Fadnavis

Mumbai : Nearly a month after the Shiv Sena opted to sit in the opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party is preparing to welcome its former ally to join the Maharashtra government, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis indicated here Thursday.

Fadnavis said the two parties, who were allies of 25 years before breaking apart weeks before the Oct 15 state assembly elections, will soon join hands together to run the state government.

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“It is the opinion of all that the two parties should once again come together. The BJP is ready to take Shiv Sena along. For this, negotiations shall be resumed between the two parties from Friday,” Fadnavis told media persons here.

The talks will be conducted by union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Maharashtra PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil on behalf of the BJP, he said.

“A couple of days ago, I spoke to (Shiv Sena president) Uddhav Thackeray in this regard over phone. Accordingly, we are confident that we shall run the state government together,” Fadnavis said.

Earlier this week, Patil indicated that the BJP and the Sena would ally again to run a coalition government in the state.

The two parties split Sep 15, just three weeks before the Maharshtra assembly elections which threw up a fractured verdict in the 288-member legislature last month.

The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 123 but effectively 122 due to the death of a legislator, the Sena claimed 63 seats, the Congress with 42, Nationalist Congress Party with 41, and the remaining 18 seats going to Independents and smaller parties.

The NCP announced its “unconditional external support” to the BJP in the interest of political stability, following which the Sena decided to sit in the opposition.

According to the available indications, the Fadnavis cabinet may be expanded this week with the inclusion of a few Sena ministers.

If the Sena quits the opposition to join the BJP-led coalition, the Congress would be entitled to the post of Leader of Opposition.