Together again, Shiv Sena to join BJP govt in Maharashtra

The BJP and the Shiv Sena have buried the bitterness of the recent past, with the now opposition Shiv Sena deciding to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Maharashtra, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced today.

Fadnavis also announced that the two parties will also fight future elections together.

"I urged the Shiv Sena to join the government....We have decided to run the government together," Fadnavis said, ending days of tense negotiations and feuding. He was flanked by leaders of the Shiv Sena and his party.

The chief minister said 12 Sena ministers would be sworn into his government, five of cabinet rank and the rest ministers of state, tomorrow. Portfolios would be decided by the evening, he said, adding that there would be no deputy chief minister.

The new ministers will take oath at 4 pm on Friday and, according to sources, 20 new ministers are expected to be sworn in.

The two parties, partners for 25 years, parted ways in the state just before the assembly elections held last month, after failing to agree on seat sharing. The BJP won the maximum seats, but is short of a majority. The Shiv Sena came in second, with about half the number of seats that the BJP won.

Sena, however, was not ready to accept the reality while the BJP sought to make it clear to the Sena that the numbers have changed and the balance of power is in their favour and will call the shots.

The Shiv Sena voted against the Fadnavis government in a trust vote last month, but Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party helped BJP survive the vote.