Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray
Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party is still contacting him through unofficial channels to join hands to form the government in Maharashtra.

"They keep making vague and differing offers each time. But we have decided to go with the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party," Thackeray declared.

Shortly thereafter, virtually confirming Thackeray's statements, senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister Narayan Rane said that he has been deployed by the party to "take whatever measures required" to convince the Sena to again revive its alliance with the BJP for forming the state government.

"We are trying for a simple majority of 145 (in the 288-member assembly), that's our target and we will submit it to the Governor. I don't think the Shiv Sena will go with the Congress-NCP. They are taking the Shiv Sena for a ride," Rane claimed.

However, BJP leader Sudhir Mugantiwar said that it is Rane's personal opinion. He said, "This is Rane Sahab's personal opinion. There was no discussion held on this issue in the BJP core committee meeting."

The Sena on Monday virtually snapped ties with the NDA at the state and centre and even withdrew its sole nominee in the Union Cabinet, Heavy Industries Minister Arvind Sawant, which was a pre-condition by the Congress-NCP for negotiations.

Referring to NCP President Sharad Pawar's statement that the Sena contacted them (Congress-NCP) first time formally on Monday, Thackeray took a swipe at the BJP.

"They were accusing us of having time to talk to 'everybody' but the BJP. Now the truth has come out. We had time for talks, but I was not interested in the direction in which the discussions were going," he said.

He also commented how the Governor B.S. Koshyari declined them two days time to prove their support, but has now given six months (President's Rule) to provide the letters of support from the other parties.

He said that after the BJP expressed its inability to form the government on Sunday, state President Chandrakant Patil offered his "wishes" to the Sena to form the government with the Congress-NCP.

"Since they have given us their good wishes, it is like showing us a direction. We will not disappoint them," Thackeray said in a jibe at the BJP.

On the question of ideological differences in allying with the Congress-NCP, Thackeray shot back offering a string of BJP's alliances with different parties of divergent ideologies including those led by Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan, Chandrababu Naidu and more.

Though President's Rule was imposed on Tuesday evening, hectic politicking has continued in the state with all parties - BJP, Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, along with independents and smaller parties in a frantic race to grab the 'magic figure of 145' before rushing to the Raj Bhavan.

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