MUMBAI: The wait for a new government in Maharashtra prolonged on Thursday, with the BJP not staking claim, while an aggressive Shiv Sena remained firm on rotation of the chief minister's post.
Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who hasn't blinked in the protracted battle of nerves with the senior alliance partner, was quoted as saying that the Amit Shah-led party should approach him only if ready to give Sena the CMs post.
On Thursday, Thackeray chaired a meeting of Sena's new MLAs for over an hour, during which the legislators reiterated that the "equal sharing of posts and responsibilities" formula agreed upon before the Lok Sabha polls should be implemented.
The Sena MLAs passed a resolution, authorising Uddhav Thackeray to take a "final decision" on government formation in Maharashtra.
After the meet, held at Thackeray's Bandra residence 'Matoshree', the legislators went to Rangsharda Hotel, close to the party chief's home, where they were shifted amid the ongoing uncertainty over government formation and fear of switching sides.
"It is necessary for all the MLAs to be together in the prevailing situation. Whatever decision Uddhavji takes will be binding on all of us," Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu said
"Threats and blackmailing won't work now," said Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who has been the public face of the party's new-found belligerence during the last fortnight.
"We also have options (to form government)," he said, but did not elaborate.
Results of the October 21 Assembly poll were declared on October 24.
The BJP and Shiv Sena are locked in a tussle over the issue of the chief minister's post, resulting in a stalemate in government formation despite results of the Assembly polls giving the alliance a combined seat strength of 161, way past the 145 majority mark in the 288-member House.
In the polls, the BJP won 105 seats, Shiv Sena-56, NCP-54 and the Congress won 44 seats.
The Congress on Thursday questioned the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance's "moral right" to form government in Maharashtra if the Sena apprehends poaching of its MLAs by its senior ally.
The Nationalist Congress Party claimed that MLAs were being approached with inducements for switching camps.