Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday indicated that the party would prioritise the construction of a Ram temple ahead of the formation of a government in Maharashtra. “Pehle Mandir Phir Sarkar [First temple, then government]!! ... Jai Shri Ram,” Raut tweeted.
“Next two days, only Ayodhya. Nothing on government,” Raut told PTI. The term of the Maharashtra Assembly ends on Saturday, but the party has still not budged to let the Bharatiya Janata Party form a government in alliance with it.
The Supreme Court had earlier on Saturday delivered its final verdict in the Ayodhya case. The court ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya would be given to a trust, which could then begin the construction of a Ram temple. The court ordered the government to form the trust within three months. It also said that a mosque will be built at an alternative site in Ayodhya, on five acres of land.
The Maharashtra Assembly election results, declared on October 24, gave 105 seats to the BJP in the 288-seat legislature. The Shiv Sena won 56 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party 54 seats and the Congress 44. The Nationalist Congress Party, led by Sharad Pawar, has already ruled out an alliance with the Shiv Sena.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had rejected the Shiv Sena’s demand for the chief minister’s post for 2.5 years, and dismissed as baseless its contention that the 50:50 formula was agreed upon before the Lok Sabha elections.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had resigned on Friday, and criticised the Shiv Sena for its statements against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Fadnavis has now been appointed the caretaker chief minister.
“Our responsibility is to be constructive opposition,” Pawar said on Saturday, reiterating his stand. “We are watching as to when the government is formed.”
Meanwhile, in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena appealed for government formation in Maharashtra at the earliest. “In Goa and Manipur, the BJP had shoved away single largest parties and formed governments,” the mouthpiece said. “It is an open secret that this was done with the active cooperation of governors. But in Maharashtra, despite being the single largest party, the BJP is not staking a claim.”
“The state governor can invite the BJP, by virtue of it being the single largest party, to form a government, and the BJP shouldn’t lose such opportunity,” the Shiv Sena said.
It also criticised the saffron party for claiming it will form a government with the Shiv Sena. “Without Shiv Sena there will be no government in state, but you refuse to honour the commitments,” the party said. “What kind of politics is this. We don’t want to get involved in such kind of muddy politics.”
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