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BJP to restart talks with Sena today over joining govt

devendra fadnavis and uddhav thackeray

Mumbai, Nov 28 (PTI) Ending weeks of acrimony between the former saffron allies, the BJP and Shiv Sena will today resume talks on the issue of the latter joining the four-week-old government in Maharashtra.

The BJP, facing the heat from several quarters over NCP’s outside support to it to form the government, is keen to take the Sena onboard to ensure a stable government.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Devendra Fadnavis yesterday said his party is keen to join hands with the Sena once again after a bitter split in the run up to the Assembly elections.

“I spoke with Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on phone a few days back and talks between the two parties will start on Friday,” Fadnavis told reporters yesterday.

“From BJP, we have asked Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Maharashtra minister Chandrakant Patil to open the talks with the Sena. Both parties may have fought elections separately, but there is no reason why we cannot come together,” he said.

Uddhav, however, chose to keep mum on Fadnavis’ comments and said he would talk to the BJP when it initiates the process.

“I am willing to resume talks with them (BJP). But let them start at least,” Thackeray said.

A senior BJP leader told on condition of anonymity that the Sena will almost certainly join the government during the next Cabinet expansion.

“The Cabinet expansion will happen either on 30th of this month or December 1. I’m almost certain that Sena will come on board,” the leader said.

The state Assembly’s winter session will commence from December 8.

In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, the BJP has 121 MLAs, while the Shiv Sena is the second largest party with 63 legislators.

The Sena’s inclusion in the Fadnavis government will also strengthen the latter’s position as it is 22 short of simple majority in the House.

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