Two MLAs back Shiv Sena, take tally to 60 seats

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena‘s confidence to get an upper hand in the power tussle for government formation is growing as the party has got support from two legislators from Prahar Janshakti Party (PJP), taking its total seat tally to 60.
Increasing support from smaller parties and rebel candidates who contested as independents and won will boost Shiv Sena’s confidence to bargain for more seats and key portfolios in the state government in the power-sharing talks with the BJP.
On Saturday, PJP MLAs Omprakash alias Bachhu Kadu, who was elected for the fourth time from Achalpur constituency in Amravati district, and Rajkumar Patel, who won from the tribal-dominated Melghat constituency, met Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and offered ‘conditional’ support. Sena’s Maratha face Eknath Shinde took the two PJP legislators to Matoshree.
Before extending his support to the Sena, Kadu discussed various issues with Thackeray, said sources. “The government should provide employment opportunities for farm labourers under government scheme, including activities related to sowing to harvesting. Divyang and the tribal community should also get jobs under government schemes. The Sena has assured that they will try to address the demands,” said Kadu. Sena has also assured Kadu that all pending issues related to citizens, tribals and the specially challenged of Achalpur and Melghat constituencies will be sorted out.
On Thursday, immediately after the assembly polls results were announced two Sena rebels who had contested as independents and won -Ashish Jaiswal representing Ramtek and Narendra Bhondekar from Bhandara constituency-met Thackeray and declared support to the party.
On Saturday, while addressing party MLAs at Matoshree, Thackeray hinted that the Sena is likely explore other options, if the BJP would not agree on 50-50 formula for power-sharing. The Sena is demanding that the BJP sign an agreement on ‘sharing of power’ formula and insist for the CM post for 2.5-year term. Thackeray had said the saffron alliance will not approach the governor to stake claim for government formation without holding talks.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, BJP rebel candidate from Mira-Bhayander Geeta Jain, who had defeated the official candidate Narendra Mehta in the assembly polls, met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and declared her support to the party. Yuva Swabhiman Party MLA Ravi Rana and independent Rajendra Raut also gave ‘unconditional’ support to the BJP. Fadnavis has claimed that 15 rebels have already extended their support to BJP. At least five BJP rebels have been elected.

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