Shah says no promise on CM post; Sena asks why mum for so long

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(Eds: adds Shiv Sena's reaction) Kankavli (Maha), Feb 7 (PTI) Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said he did not promise Shiv Sena - then BJP's partner - to share the chief minister's post if the alliance retained power in Maharashtra after the 2019 Assembly polls.

Shiv Sena, which ditched the BJP soon after the polls to form the government with the NCP and Congress, shot back, wondering what took the senior BJP leader over a year to come out with his version on the much-discussed topic in the state politics.

'I don't make promises in closed rooms. Whatever I do, I do it openly. I don't do politics in closed rooms,' Shah said, after inaugurating a private medical college at Kankavli in Sindhudurg district.

He said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra comprising Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress is like an auto-rickshaw whose three wheels were pulling in different directions.

'This (MVA) is an unholy alliance and an outcome of betraying the people's mandate which was for a BJP-Shiv Sena government led by (BJP's) Devendra Fadnavis,' Shah said, adding the MVA alliance is a result of the lust for power.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena parted ways with the BJP after the 2019 Assembly polls in over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post with the BJP, and later forged an alliance with the NCP and Congress to come to power.

Thackeray had claimed that Shah, who was then BJP president, had assured at his 'Matoshree' bungalow in Mumbai that the CM's post would be shared by the two parties, and the BJP reneged on the promise.

It is being claimed that the BJP broke the promise, Shah said, adding his party honours the promises it makes.

'We don't speak white lies. We are the ones who honour commitments. In Bihar, we had said that even if the BJP gets more seats, Nitish Kumar will continue to be the CM,' Shah said.

Slamming Thackeray, Shah said the Shiv Sena leader addressed poll rallies with him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the Maharashtra Assembly elections.

In the poll posters of Shiv Sena candidates, Modi's pictures were bigger than Thackeray's, Shah said. 'We sought votes for the BJP-Sena alliance led by Fadnavis. Why didn't you speak out then? You just garnered votes in Modi's name,' Shah said.

Reacting to his remarks, Sena leader and former Union minister Arvind Sawant said the fact that Shah took a year and half to claim that he had not made any promise (to Thackeray) on sharing chief ministers post raises suspicions.

'Uddhv Thackeray spoke about this (promise) on many occasions - even in the state legislature - but Shah had remained silent. After the Assembly election results, Shah went to Haryana for government formation talks but remained silent on Maharashtra's political developments,' the Sena leader said.

The Thackeray family is known in Maharashtra for honouring promises made, he said. PTI MR GK VT VT VT