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Shiv Sena undecided on joining Maharashtra government

Shiv Sena undecided on joining Maharashtra government

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena Monday remained undecided on joining the Maharashtra administration here four days after the new BJP government, headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, was sworn-in.

The Sena said talks were on with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to join the government but a final decision may be taken only before the assembly's inaugural three-day special session opens Nov 10.

Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai told the media here: "Talks with the BJP are underway and moving in the right direction. We shall take a final decision before the vote of confidence. Uddhav Thackeray will be the deciding authority."

The mood in the BJP appears veering towards accepting the Sena participation in the new government as Fadnavis did not assign the key home portfolio to any of his cabinet colleagues.

In the past two decades of four alliance governments in the state, the home ministry and some other major ministries have usually been given to the second partner.

In the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition in 1995-1999, the BJP's deputy chief minister late Gopinath Munde held the portfolio. In the subsequent three Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) governments between 1999-2014, it was with the NCP.

However, Uddhav indicated in Kolhapur Monday that neither the Sena or its workers were in any "hurry" to join the government.

He told the media: "We have yet to work out the power-sharing formula... I only hope everything works out in the best interests of the common man. I am in no hurry to join the government, nor are the Shiv Sainiks... Give us a few days to decide."

In a last-minute turnaround from his hard position Oct 31, Thackeray attended the swearing-in ceremony of Fadnavis, and sparked speculation about revival of a possible coalition between the two erstwhile allies of 25 years.

Meanwhile, preparations are on for the assembly session starting Nov 10 in which the first two days will be devoted to swearing-in of the 287 new legislators in the 288-member house, as one BJP legislator from Nanded died last week.

The minority government headed by Fadnavis will seek the vote of confidence Nov 12.

The BJP now has an effective strength of 121, plus one pre-poll ally. The NCP with 41 MLAs has said it will abstain during the vote of confidence, thus ensuring smooth sailing for Fadnavis.

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