Once bitten, twice shy. After the failed attempt to form the government with the veteran NCP leader Ajit Pawar in November 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party is not taking any chance as it was closely watching the evolving political crisis after the rebellion by senior Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde and other party legislators against the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. The leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis, who has been in constant communication with the central leadership especially after Shinde formally submits the list of minimum 37 legislators to the state assembly deputy speaker to avoid the action under the anti-defection law, on Thursday evening flew to Delhi to discuss BJP’s future strategy.
A senior BJP leader told the Free Press Journal, ‘’Fadnavis is expected to brief union home minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda about the present situation especially after the rebel leader Eknath Shinde camp has released the list of 37 legislators, who were elected on Shiv Sena’s poll symbol, and 7 independents. The Central leadership wants that there should not be any goof up and therefore has asked Fadnavis to validate Shinde camp’s claims and then proceed. BJP will come into the picture after proper evaluation and clarity about the numbers.’’ He further said that BJP will provide the necessary legal aid to the Shinde camp after it formally submits a list to the deputy speaker of the state assembly seeking its recognition as the real legislative party.
Another leader said after the Shinde camp passes the legislative test then talks will be possible. ‘’BJP would certainly expect Shinde camp to formally merge with it and thereafter talks with regard to the government formation will take place. But Shinde camp will have to be ready for the legal battle. Internally, BJP expects the process of government formation will gather momentum after the Amavasya which is slated for June 29 and swearing in can happen on July 3. However, nothing has been fixed so far,’’ he noted.
Union minister Raosaheb Danve claimed that whatever happened in Shiv Sena was its internal affair, adding that no Shiv Sena MLA is in touch with the party. ‘’We haven't spoken to Eknath Shinde. This is Shiv Sena's internal matter. BJP has nothing to do with this. We're not staking a claim to form the government," he clarified.
A BJP insider said that the state and central party leadership has told the party leaders, office bearers and spokespersons not to make any comment or tweet on Shinde’s coup and the subsequent political developments in the state.