Devendra Fadnavis dismisses Sena ultimatum as Rane waits in wings

CM may expand Cabinet early Oct; former Cong CM Narayan Rane likely to make the cut if he joins BJP

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Devendra Fadnavis dismisses Sena ultimatum as Rane waits in wings
Devendra Fadnavis

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday dismissed coalition partner Shiv Sena’s threat of an ultimatum for withdrawing its support with a pithy “We only are ultimate.”

Another senior BJP minister indicated that the party does not view Shiv Sena’s threats as well as present ultimatum as a serious matter. He added that a lot of water has flown under the bridge in the past 15 years and that the BJP has edged out the Sena to emerge as the dominant partner in the saffron alliance.

Sena president Uddhav Thackeray had on Monday met with Sena legislators at his residence Matoshree, following rumours of veteran Congress leader and former chief minister Narayan Rane joining the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Rane, who has been a fierce critic of the Sena as well as its founder, the late Bal Thackeray, is expected to announce his final decision on Thursday. BJP leaders told DNA the final decision on Rane’s induction would be taken at the party president Amit Shah’s level.

Shiv Sena leaders, including Minister of state for Home and finance Deepak Kesarkar, have openly cautioned the BJP against inducting Rane.

The Sena president is also scheduled to hold division-wise meetings of legislators to hear their grievances about the current government. Most Sena ministers had on Monday complained that despite having four Sena leaders as Cabinet ministers, none of the works in Sena MLAs’ constituencies are being sanctioned by the government. Sena minister Ramdas Kadam, however, expressed his inability to help party MLAs, claiming that despite being made a minister, he did not have any powers.

Rane in the fray

BJP sources told DNA that any decision on Rane’s inclusion in the party will be taken during the two-day national executive meeting in New Delhi on September 24-25. A senior Maharashtra minister said that Rane’s induction is almost certain and that it could take place as early as this week, while a Cabinet expansion may happen in the first week of October.

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