Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday said his party would declare its next strategy once no one else is able to form government in Maharashtra, and asserted that politics was not a trade for his party.
Without taking name of any individual or party, he said the bubble of being “invincible” has burst and the arrogance of “buying” a politician to form government will no longer work in the state.
The Shiv Sena “will step in” if no one forms government, Raut told reporters in Mumbai.
He also welcomed the decision of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to invite the Bharatiya Janata Party to form government in the state.
“I welcome the governor’s decision to invite the BJP. The single largest party had to be called. We fail to understand why the BJP did not stake claim in 24 hours (after results) if it was confident that it had the majority,” the Rajya Sabha member said.
“I don’t think the BJP has enough strength to stake claim for government formation…I am told the governor has asked the BJP to inform him about its decision by 8 pm on November 11,” he said.
On the Sena’s future course of action, he said, “Let the picture be clear on the first step by governor. The Shiv Sena will declare its strategy if no one else is able to form the government.”
The BJP won 105 seats in the October 21 elections, while the majority mark in the 288-member assembly is 145.
Its ally Shiv Sena won 56 seats, but the two parties are bickering over the chief minister’s post.
Asked if the Shiv Sena has entered into a ‘deal’ with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, Raut said, “We are not traders to make deals. Politics is not a trade for the Shiv Sena. ‘Profit’ and ‘loss’ (words) are not in our dictionary.”
He also dismissed the possibility of legislators switching sides.
“I don’t think MLAs of any party would defect. If anyone tries to split another party for government formation, I don’t think it will work this time,” he said.
“The arrogance of buying any politician and form a government will no longer work in this state. The bubble of being invincible has burst,” Raut said.
On posters put up by Sena workers near Thackeray’s residence in Mumbai demanding that he be the chief minister, Raut said, “Uddhav Thackeray is the Shiv Sena leader and he will take an appropriate decision at the right time. He has already said he will make a Shiv Sainikthe CM.”
When a reporter pointed out that the Sena was not criticising the opposition Nationalist Congress Party in the wake of a possible alliance between the two parties, Raut said, “We have not criticised the BJP either. The election campaign is over and things said during the campaign are irrelevant.”
On if the Congress will support the Shiv Sena to form government, Raut said the Sonia Gandhi-led party is “not enemy of Maharashtra”.
“If Congress leaders have taken any decision to ensure a stable government in Maharashtra, we welcome it,” he said.
Every political party has differences with the other party. Like, the Sena and the BJP differ on the issue of border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka over Belagavi (Belgaum) district, Raut said.
“We always expected a strong stand of the BJP on Belagavi district with its counterpart (BJP) in the Karnataka government. At the same time, there are some leaders in the Congress and the NCP who identify themselves with the Sena’s stand on this border dispute issue,” he said.
Maharashtra claims Belgaum, part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency but currently a district of Karnataka, on linguistic grounds.
Raut also welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict that cleared the way for construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
“People waited for a long time for this decision,” he added.