Mumbai | Jagran News Desk: Hours after Shiv Sena refused to step back from its demand of 50:50 power sharing with ally BJP in Maharashtra, party leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday met NCP chief Sharad Pawar, triggering speculations about the possible formation of alternative government in the state.

Raut called the meeting with the NCP chief a "courtesy visit" while raising speculation about tying up with the party. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, addressing his MLAs, said the party was still in talks with the Congress and the NCP and he wanted a “Shiv Sainik to be Maharashtra’s chief minister”. 

Raut had also met Pawar on the day of results, but maintained that it was a private meeting. 

Earlier in the day, Sena again indicated that it had not given up its claim on the post of chief minister, saying
that equal sharing of power must mean sharing of the top post too.

Raut also vehemently refuted reports that his party has softened its stand on the contentious issue that emerged after the alliance got a clear majority in the recently concluded state elections.

On Wednesday, Raut had given an indication of the Sena's apparent climbdown, saying it is necessary for the party to stay in the BJP-led alliance in the larger interest of Maharashtra, but without compromising on "respect".

However, Sena's reiteration of its demand comes amid media reports suggesting that the BJP, which elected Devendra fadnavis as its legislative party leader on Wednesday, may offer deputy chief minister’s post to Shiv Sena along with 13 ministerial berths. 

Times of India, in its report, quoted sources saying that the BJP would send a proposal to the Sena stating that it would keep 26 ministerial posts, including key portfolios like revenue, finance, home and urban development, for itself and give 13 to its ally. 

On the other hand, an NDTV report said that back-channels talks between the two alliance partners have led to a plan under which Devendra Fadnavis will remain Chief Minister for five years with two deputies - one from the Shiv Sena and the other from the BJP.  

In the recent polls to 288-member Assembly, the BJP won 105 seats, a loss of 17 seats compared to its 2014 tally. The Sena's tally also came down to 56 seats from 63 in 2014. A resurgent NCP won 54 and the Congress bagged 44 seats.

The two alliance partners are now   locked in a dispute over the   power-sharing formula for the new government, with the Sena demanding CM's post for 2.5 years, claiming that it wsas part of the seat-sharing agreement agreed upon before the polls. 

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday refuted Shiv Sena’s demand of 50:50 rotational chief ministership, saying that Sena had proposed equal sharing of the chief minister post during seat-sharing talks but the BJP had not agreed to it.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta