After a stunning victory in Maharashtra, hectic parleys are going on within the Bharatiya Janata Party and it is still in two minds over post-poll alliance with Shiv Sena despite party chief Uddhav Thackeray's overtures, said sources on Monday.
The BJP emerged as the single largest party in Maharashtra by winning 123 out of 288 seats but is short of 22 seats to be able to form a government in the state.
Sources said that Uddhav Thackeray had called Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah and congratulated the duo over the massive victory in the Assembly polls. While Thackeray made no specific demands, he did make a mention of creation of separate Vidarbha which a few BJP leaders have been demanding. Modi and Shah told him that the issue can be discussed once the observers reach Mumbai.
Thackeray also called BJP state president Devendra Fadnavis and Om Mathur on Sunday. Mathur said, "Uddhav Thackeray called Amit Shah, PM Modi, Devendra Fadanavis and me on Sunday. He congratulated us but did not discuss any other issue of government formation. So far, no formula or contours of deal have been put forward by Sena or by us. No suggestion of giving deputy chief minister's post has either been made my Sena or discussed by us."
There were reports that BJP observers Rajnath Singh and JP Nadda will visit the state on Monday to take a stock of the situation but sources said that it has not been fixed yet. Sources said that observers are waiting for the state unit to tell them the best time to visit Mumbai.
Sources added that most of the MLAs are still in their respective constituencies, so observers are waiting for them to settle down with the victory celebrations. Sources added that the observers may meet Thackeray later in the day.
The Sena is talking tough now and through its mouthpiece has reminded the BJP that it not won a clear mandate in Maharashtra polls. Sena, which won 63 seats, said that the political wrangling over the government formation is likely to go on for a few days.
BJP dilemma for alliance in Maharashtra:
BJP and Sena control the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corportaion; the country's richest municipal body with a budget of Rs 31,000 crore. A permanent break up will lead to the two parties moving apart in BMC as well.
In several parts of Marathwada and Western Maharashtra; BJP and Sena jostled for number 1 and number 2 positions. It implies that the two are in competitive equation now with each other.
Uddhav Thackeray's past tirades against PM Modi haven't gone down well with the BJP. The party doesn't want to be in a position where they may have to succumb to Senas strong arm tactics at a later stage.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari is keen on BJP going ahead with the NCP. He believes the two can have a merger of interests.
Only problem with the NCP is the corruption taint that many of its members have.