In a breakthrough, the Shiv Sena and the BJP are reported to have agreed on Monday to form a coalition government in Maharashtra.
As per sources, senior state leaders of the two parties met here this morning and at the meeting, the Shiv Sena agreed to lend support to the BJP government.
Sources said details of the government formation are being worked out and a formal announcement could be made later today.
The development came within minutes of news that Home Minister Rajnath Singh and senior party leader JP Nadda, who were scheduled to visit Mumbai today to decide on the leader of the BJP government in Maharashtra, have postponed their visit till tomorrow.
They were expected to meet Uddhav today and discuss post-poll alliance.
However, with state leadership making headway in talks the central leadership is believed to have decided to wait.
The NCP, which won 41 seats, had yesterday decided to unilaterally lend outside support to a BJP government in the state. But the BJP is not keen on taking outside support.
Following NCP’s offer, the Shiv Sena had yesterday taken the initiative to put the pre-poll acrimony behind and look towards the future with the BJP.
As per reports, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray spoke to BJP president Amit Shah over phone last evening. The duo were also joined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, against whom Uddhav and his party mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ had hit out in the run-up to elections.
While there was no specific post-poll alliance talk during the 10-minute long conversation, the leaders of the two parties did agree to ‘move forward’.
The BJP won 122 seats while the Shiv Sena managed 63 in an election that saw the two parties’ 25-year-old friendship end over a few seats.
But with the results failing to give any party a clear majority, it had become necessary for the BJP to forge an alliance with either Shiv Sena or accept the NCP’s offer of outside support.
And sources say, with Shiv Sena being a ‘natural ally’ BJP considered it wise to go with the erstwhile partner than the NCP.
BJP president Amit Shah had yesterday said at a post-results press conference that it was the Shiv Sena which had ended the alliance, not the BJP.
Uddhav is reported to have also held talks with BJP frontrunner for CM Devendra Fadnavis and senior party leader Om Mathur yesterday.
The Sena is reported to be okay with getting the deputy chief minister’s post, after the BJP made it clear in no uncertain terms that they will neither give up the CM’s post nor agree to rotational CM policy.