Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday hailed Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray for spreading the message of “self-respect”, and attended an event to commemorate his seventh death anniversary. This comes just days after the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena ended their alliance, and Fadnavis lost his post, due to their power tussle in Maharashtra after elections last month.

“Respected Balasaheb gave the fundamental message of cultivating self-respect to all of us,” Fadnavis tweeted along with an old video of a speech by Thackeray. In another post, he said: “Salutations to our source of inspiration, Hindu Hriday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray on his death anniversary.”

Fadnavis attended an event in Shivaji Park in Mumbai to commemorate the death anniversary on Sunday afternoon. BJP leaders Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Munde were also present at the gathering along with members of the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress, NDTV reported.

Fadnavis was subjected to sloganeering by some Shiv Sena workers as he left Shivaji Park, PTI reported.

“We will give befitting reply on self-respect, Hindutva and nationalism at the right time,” Sena leader Sanjay Raut told the Hindustan Times. “We will fulfil Uddhavji’s [Shiv Sena chief and Bal Thackeray’s son Uddhav Thackeray] promise to Balasaheb [Bal Thackeray] of having a chief minister from Sena.”

The Shiv Sena and the BJP, which fought elections as allies, got engaged in a tussle over government formation for nearly three weeks after the results were declared. The BJP had emerged as the single-largest party with 105 seats in the 288-member Assembly. The Sena, with 56 seats, came second, while the NCP and the Congress won 54 and 44 constituencies.

After the BJP, the Shiv Sena, and the NCP were unable to stake claim to form the government in the state, President’s Rule was imposed on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s recommendation. Now, the Shiv Sena has been trying to form an alliance with the Congress and the NCP. However, being ideologically different, the three parties are still trying to agree on a common minimum programme.

A meeting of the three parties with Koshyari, possibly to discuss government formation, was postponed until further notice on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena, which was part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance until the fallout, refused to attend an all-party meeting on Sunday ahead of the Winter Session of the Parliament. Raut on Saturday said that the Shiv Sena’s exit from the alliance was a mere formality now.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that Shiv Sena MPs will now sit in the Opposition. “They are trying to work with Congress, so naturally, they have opted to sit in opposition and we’ve agreed to that,” Joshi said, according to ANI.

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