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BJP Open to the Idea of Offering Deputy CM Post in Maharashtra to Shiv Sena, Says Amit Shah

Amit Shah, in an exclusive interview , denied there was any rift with the Sena camp over its statements that the next chief minister of Maharashtra should be a Shiv Sainik, but made the BJP’s position on the issue clear.

New Delhi: Clearing his party’s stand on Shiv Sena’s demand for deputy chief ministership, BJP president and union home minister Amit Shah has indicated BJP is open to the idea of offering the post to its ally but said Devendra Fadnavis will continue as Maharashtra CM if NDA comes to power in the state. ​

Shah, in an exclusive interview  Network’s Group Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi, denied there was any rift with the Sena camp over its statements that the next chief minister of Maharashtra should be a Shiv Sainik, but made the BJP’s position on the issue clear.

“I don’t think [Shiv Sena leaders issuing such statements] is a big threat to the alliance. It is very clear that Fadnavis will be the Chief Minister,” . Shah was then asked a follow up question – will they consider having a Shiv Sainik as a deputy CM?

“This is an issue that Devendra Fadnavis and his team will take a call on. They along with BJP’s Parliamentary board will exchange opinions on the subject. All options are open right now,” Shah said.

The BJP president also spoke at length on the reported tiff between the two old alliance partners. Given Shiv Sena’s regular barbs through their mouthpiece Saamna, their leaders repeatedly challenging BJP on key issues in the Parliament, and return volleys from some BJP leaders, and protracted seat sharing negotiations between the two parties, many news outlets have been talking about a widening rift between the two parties. Shah denied all such reports.

“There is a pressure from the party workers. All party workers want their party to expand. Regarding the negotiations I don’t find anything problematic in this. It is a sign of a healthy coalition,” Shah said.

He added that in both, the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls and in the upcoming assembly polls, workers from both the parties have stood by each other. So there has been no friction between strategy and execution of poll campaigns at the ground level between the two parties.

In a conversation about how he sees BJP faring in the upcoming polls in Mahrashtra, Amit Shah said the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will get two-thirds majority. When pressed for a prediction on the number of seats he saw BJP bagging, Shah said that it was premature to offer numbers at this point but BJP will surely improve its numbers from last time.

In the 2014 assembly election which BJP and Shiv Sena fought separately, BJP came out strongest at 122 seats, just 22 less than the halfway mark, and later tied up with Shiv Sena to form government.

When asked whether BJP, which is fighting on 164 seats, could get enough seats to form the government on its own, Shah said, “Yes, we can go that far. It is not impossible.”

 

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