Being the single largest party after the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance, the Bharatiya Janata Party is projecting senior leader Eknath Khadse for the post of Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly, though its ally Shiv Sena is in no mood to part with it.
Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray's statement -- "numbers won't determine who gets to hold the post"-- seems to have no impact on the BJP, which is projecting Khadse for the post.
According to a senior BJP leader, Khadse's name is likely to be declared at the meeting of newly elected party Members of Legislative Assembly in Mumbai on Friday.
"As per the rules, we have more number of MLAs, after the ruling alliance. So, it is obvious that we will get the post of Opposition Leader in the assembly," said state BJP general secretary Vinod Tawade.
However, Uddhav, while speaking to the media, had said that the senior leaders of the Sena and the BJP would hold a meeting and discus the issue. The Sena is also facing an embarrassment by the unexpected defeat of its leader Ramdas Kadam, who was the Leader of Opposition for the past five years.
The party is seeking the support of four candidates of the Peasants' and Workers' Party, who won with the Sena's backing, and former Sena activist Vivek Pandit, an Independent who won from Vasai in Thane district. While the BJP has got 46 seats in the 288-member House, Shiv Sena has bagged 44.
A senior Sena functionary said the BJP already held the post of Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council and should leave the assembly post for its ally.
If the assembly post is taken by the BJP, Sena will claim the deputy speaker's post in the assembly, which is usually held by the opposition party, he said.
"The BJP has to give us the post of the Leader of Opposition in either the assembly or in the council. Similarly, the post of deputy speaker and deputy chairman (in Council) will be shared," the functionary said. PTI