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Shiv Sena softens stand, says it is necessary to stay in BJP alliance


Mumbai, Oct 30: In an apparent softening of stand, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday said it is necessary for the party to stay in the BJP-led alliance in the larger interest of Maharashtra, but without compromising on "respect".

Sanjay Raut

He said there was no hurry to form the next government and rejected speculation that the Shiv Sena may split if there was a delay in the formation of the new Council of Ministers.

Talking to reporters, Raut said it is necessary for the Sena to remain in the saffron alliance in the interest of the state, but added that "respect" is also important.

"Individuals are not important but state's interest is important. Decisions need to be taken in a calm manner and keeping in mind the state's interest," the Rajya Sabha MP said.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has been aggressively pushing for rotational chief ministership and 50:50 power-sharing formula.

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Raut said his party only wants the implementation of what was decided between the two allies before the October 21 assembly polls. To a question on whether the Shiv Sena was adamant on implementing the 50:50 formula (equal share in power), Raut said, "You (the media) are saying this. We only want things to be done according to what has been decided earlier."

He said there was no question of any newly-elected Sena MLA leaving the party due to delay in government formation.

"No newly-elected MLA from any party will split. There was no question of this happening with Shiv Sena MLAs," Raut asserted.

About re-election of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as leader of the BJP legislature party, Raut said, "Those who have the support of 145 MLAs (in a house of 288) will be the chief minister and it is duty to welcome him."

Asked about reports that the BJP has offered deputy chief minister's post and 13 portfolios to the Sena, Raut evaded a direct reply and said that they "are not sitting with account books."

Raut, the executive editor of Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana', has been vociferously articulating the party's demands for equal share in power and the chief minister's post on a rotational basis.

On Tuesday, Raut had even talked of his party looking at "alternatives" if its key demands were not accepted by the BJP.

"We believe in the alliance (with BJP) as we contested the polls jointly. But the BJP should not compel us to commit the sin of looking for an alternative for government formation," Raut had said.

The BJP has been insisting that Fadnavis will remain the chief minister for the next five years after winning 105 assembly seats, while the Sena bagged 56 in the 288-member house.

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