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Fadnavis briefed shah on Maharashtra

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met Union Home Minister Amit Shah here on Monday as the BJP and its ally Shiv Sena continue their tussle over government formation in the state.

Fadnavis reached here Monday morning to meet Shah, also the BJP president, party insiders said.

The meeting was held at Shah’s residence.

Unlike the last assembly elections, the BJP and the Shiv Sena this time fought elections in alliance with each other. The BJP won 105 seats and the Shiv Sena 56.

The two parties are caught in a stalemate over the chief minister’s post, with the Sena demanding an equal division of the top post’s tenure and the BJP rejecting it.

However, officially Fadnavis is meeting Shah to seek more help from the centre for a package for Maharashtra’s farmers whose crops have been affected by unseasonal rains.

The impasse between the saffron allies, BJP and Shiv Sena, over their power-sharing pact has continued for 10 days after the result for Assembly polls were announced on October 24.

Both the BJP and the Shiv Sena have not made any new moves in the last couple of days, with both sides adamant on their positions and trying to drive a hard bargain. The Sena has made it clear that it would not settle for anything less than the sharing of the CM post, but BJP says it never promised that to its ally.

Both Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray have been touring drought-hit areas and backchannel talks are likely to resume once they return, sources said.

Amid the stalemate, Shiv Sena put the BJP on notice on Sunday as the party seems to have reached out to the Sharad Pawar-led party.

The speculation that Sena was exploring alternative options other than the ally BJP got strengthened when senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar showed reporters a phone message from Sena MP Sanjay Raut, which just contained a formal introduction of and greetings from the latter.

Speaking on the message, former deputy chief minister Pawar said, “This means I should call him. I will call and check.”

Notably, amidst the power tussle between the Sena and the BJP, the NCP has maintained that it would sit in the Opposition. But NCP chief Sharad Pawar held a closed-door meeting with his party leaders in Mumbai on Saturday to explore an alternate possibility of forming the government with Sena.

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