Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil on Tuesday said some MLAs of the BJP will meet Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde camping in a Surat hotel in their ”personal capacity” even as he distanced his party from the ongoing political turmoil. Patil also said if BJP receives any proposal from Eknath Shinde to form a government, they would ”definitely consider it”.
He admitted that BJP MLA from Maharashtra, Sanjay Kute, had met Shinde.
Addressing a press conference against the backdrop of Shinde and some Sena MLAs going incommunicado and moving to a hotel in Surat, Patil said the next 24 hours will be crucial and that the BJP is closely watching the developments. “BJP MLA Sanjay Kute from Maharashtra met Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde in Surat in his personal capacity. The BJP has nothing to do with the ongoing developments. Shinde’s decision is not part of any game plan of the BJP,” Patil said.
The BJP leader also said that it was not true that the (Sena) MLAs accompanying Shinde in Surat had secretly voted for BJP candidates in recent Rajya Sabha and state Legislative Council elections. ”We received support from disgruntled MLAs from all the parties,” he said. Earlier in the day, Patil had told PTI that if BJP receives any proposal from Eknath Shinde to form a government, the party would definitely consider it seriously as Sena and BJP had worked together in the past.
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”It is much better to work and run a government with them,” the BJP leader had said.
He had also said that it is Shiv Sena’s internal matter and the BJP is not aware why Shinde went to Surat with his party colleagues. Meanwhile, some BJP leaders claimed they were aware of the growing ”unrest” within the Shiv Sena.
Senior BJP leader and former state minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said his party had been consistently raising objections over the Shiv Sena-led government’s style of functioning.
”There was no secret that several Sena leaders were unhappy with the government as well,” he said.
Asked if the BJP would try to form a government with the support of Shiv Sena ‘rebel’ MLAs, Mungantiwar had said he would not comment on it as he has not spoken to his party colleagues about these developments.
”In the MLC elections on Monday, the BJP managed to secure 134 votes, which technically means we are short of 11 votes (in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly) to stake claim to form a government. But, it easier to say it than actually make it happen,” he said.
In the Legislative Council polls held for 10 seats, the BJP managed to win all the five seats it had contested though it had votes to win four candidates. The Sena and NCP won two seats each. Congress suffered a jolt as one of its two nominees lost.