Shiv Sena decides to sit in opposition in Maharashtra

The Shiv Sena on Monday decided to end days of uncertainty and sit in the opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly by formally proposing the name of Eknath Shinde as Leader of Opposition (LoP), thereby formally staking claim to be the opposition in the assembly.

Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray wrote a letter seeking the post of Leader of Opposition for its legislature party leader Eknath Shinde to the state assembly secretary Anant Kalse, party spokesperson Neelam Gorhe told reporters.

"A letter written by our President Uddhav Thackeray was submitted to Anant Kalse informing him that Eknath Shinde has been appointed as the leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party.

"Since we are the second largest party in the House with 63 MLAs it is appropriate to appoint our leader as Leader of Opposition. We expect Shinde's name to be announced as early as possible," she said.

Sena had earlier threatened to sit in the opposition if the BJP decides to continue to seek support of Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party, which broke its alliance with the Congress shortly before the assembly elections.

"If we don't get a satisfactory answer in next two days, we will sit in opposition," Uddhav had said last evening after a meeting of party legislators.

Uddhav had also asked Sena's Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai to return to Mumbai from Delhi without taking oath as union minister. Sena had also boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of the new ministers who were inducted into the Narendra Modi government.

BJP has 121 MLAs in the assembly which has effective strength of 287. NCP chief Sharad Pawar, whose party has 41 MLAs, today reiterated that it will back the Devendra Fadnavis government during the trust vote on 12 November.