Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday said his party would not take part in the meeting of the National Democratic Alliance in New Delhi on Sunday, ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament, PTI reported. Parliament will be in session from Monday.
Raut told reporters in Mumbai that the Shiv Sena’s exit from the Bharatiya Janata Party-led alliance was mere formality now. “I have learnt that the meeting is being held on November 17,” he said. “We had already decided against attending the meeting considering the kind of developments that are taking place in Maharashtra...our minister resigning from the central government.” The Shiv Sena’s lone minister in the central government, Arvind Sawant, had resigned from his post on November 11.
Raut said the National Democratic Alliance was not anyone’s personal property. “Bal Thackeray [the Shiv Sena’s founder] and Akali Dal were equally important founders of the alliance,” he added.
Raut said he had also learnt that the Shiv Sena had not been invited to the National Democratic Alliance’s meeting. “There is a lot of difference between the old NDA and today’s NDA,” the Shiv Sena leader said according to ANI. “Who is the convener of NDA today? Advani ji [LK Advani]who was one of its founders has either left or is inactive.”
The Rajya Sabha MP also said he was confident that the mayors of Mumbai and Thane, who are from the Sena, would be re-elected in the November 22 elections. The Nationalist Congress Party has backed the nationalist party in the Mumbai mayoral polls, India Today reported. The Nationalist Congress Party’s Mumbai unit chief Nawab Malik said the support was offered because the Shiv Sena had broken all ties with the BJP. Malik said his party would also talk to the Congress about backing the Sena.
Raut said the three parties had arrived at a consensus on a Common Minimum Programme, which will be the foundation of the proposed alliance government in the state.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena leader said he had learnt that his seating arrangement in the Rajya Sabha had been changed along with that of his colleague Anil Desai, ANI reported. They will now sit in the Opposition benches.
The Shiv Sena and the BJP fell out earlier this month over government formation in the state following the Assembly election result. The Shiv Sena claimed that BJP President Amit Shah had promised it a 50:50 power-sharing deal, and demanded the chief minister’s post for two-and-a-half years. However, Devendra Fadnavis denied that any such formula had existed.
The BJP won 105 seats in the elections, the Shiv Sena 56 constituencies, the Nationalist Congress Party 54 seats and the Congress 44. After no negotiations with the BJP for two weeks, the Shiv Sena attempted to form an alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party. However, talks between the three sides are yet to materialise into an alliance. A meeting between representatives of the three parties and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari was scheduled for Saturday afternoon but it was postponed.
President’s Rule was imposed in Maharashtra on November 12 after the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party failed to submit letters of support of at least 145 MLAs – the majority mark – to the governor.