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BJP Minister: Shiv Sena Would Be Accommodated in Cabinet Expansion

BJP leader and Maharashtra Public Works Department minister Chandrakant Patil on Saturday said that estranged ally Shiv Sena "will be accommodated" in the Cabinet expansion before the Winter Session of the Assembly starts on December 8.

The Sena, on the other hand, said it was firm on the demand of a third of the portfolios and the post of Deputy Chief Minister.

"We have always wanted Shiv Sena to join us because we do not want unstable government in the state... the final picture will be clear in one or two days. But one thing is for sure - Shiv Sena will be accommodated in the cabinet expansion, which may happen between November 25 and 30," Mr Patil said in Kolhapur.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is in New Delhi, reportedly met BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday to discuss the Cabinet expansion.    

However, Sena leader Gajanan Kirtikar said his party had given a reasonable share in power to the BJP in the past, and now BJP should reciprocate.   

"It is BJP's and Fadnavis' responsibility to take in the Shiv Sena. We want at least a third of the portfolios. When we were in power, we had given them (the BJP) Deputy Chief Minister's post and important ministries. We expect similar response from them now, to be treated with respect. But the final decision will be taken by Uddhav Thackeray," he said.

Meanwhile, Fadnavis said in Delhi that a deal with Shiv Sena would be finalised soon and the talks were moving in "right direction".

"Shiv Sena has always been a friend and in future, I think and I hope, we will be friends," the chief minister said.

BJP seemed to have struck a conciliatory note after NCP chief Sharad Pawar asked his party workers to be ready for snap-polls and stated that ensuring a stable government in Maharashtra was not his party's responsibility.

Later, in a U-turn, Mr Pawar said his party was not interested in toppling the newly-formed government.


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