Around 45 newly elected Shiv Sena MLAs in Maharashtra are keen on government formation in the state by joining hands with the BJP and want Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister, BJP's associate MP in the Rajya Sabha, Sanjay Kakade, claimed on Tuesday.
Amid the ongoing tussle between the ruling allies over forming the next state government, Kakade, while speaking to a television channel, also said he does not think that the Shiv Sena will sit in the opposition.
The BJP and the Sena, which won 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the just concluded state Assembly polls, are locked in a bitter battle over sharing of power.
"Out of 56, there are 45 MLAs who have expressed their interest in government formation along with the BJP. They are calling and asking us to induct them into the government," Kakade told the TV channel.
He added that the Sena MLAs have been saying "do whatever, but we want to be part of the government with BJP".
"There are some 45 MLAs of the Shiv Sena who wish that their party should go with the BJP and an alliance government should be formed as soon as possible with Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister," said Kakade.
"The (Sena) leaders, who are in contact with the chief minister, have conveyed this wish of the 45 Sena MLAs (to the BJP leadership)," he said.
He said these 45 MLAs will convince Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to form an alliance government under the leadership of Fadnavis.
"All these Shiv Sena MLAs, among whom some are ministers, are used to being in power and they want to remain in power. I am sure that Thackeray will agree with some more portfolios and the alliance government will form with Fadanvis as the chief minister," he said.
He said Congress president Sonia Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar have already clarified that they have been mandated to sit in the opposition and in such a condition, the Shiv Sena does not have any other option but to be a part of the alliance with BJP.
When contacted, Kakade told PTI that the 45 MLAs were of the opinion that the BJP and Sena should join hands for government formation.
As the BJP's tally went down in the October 21 state Assembly elections, compared to its 2014 performance, the Sena has been raising a pitch for "equal sharing" of power.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray last week reminded the BJP of the 50:50 formula "agreed upon" between himself, BJP president Amit Shah and Fadnavis ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
On Saturday, the Sena demanded a written assurance from the BJP for implementing "equal formula for sharing of power" before holding talks on staking the claim to form the next alliance government in the state.
In the recent polls to 288-member Assembly, the BJP won 105 seats, a loss of 17 seats compared to its 2014 tally.
The Sena's tally also came down to 56 seats from 63 in 2014. A resurgent NCP won 54 and the Congress bagged 44 seats.
Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content