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Fadnavis gets some advice on standoff with Sena at meeting with RSS brass

RSS sources said Devendra Fadnavis held over a 45-minute closed-door meeting with Bhagwat and his deputy and RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi on the present political situation in the state.

Amid the BJP-Shiv Sena tug-of-war over government formation in Maharashtra, caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis arrived in Nagpur on Tuesday evening and headed straight to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh headquarters to meet the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

RSS sources said Fadnavis held over a 45-minute closed-door meeting with Bhagwat and his deputy and RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi on the present political situation in the state.

A senior RSS swayamsevak, who did not wish to be named, said that they discussed various options for formation of government in the state. The possible options included seeking NCP’s help and a faction from the Sena which wants to join hands with the BJP in government formation.

However, the RSS chief reportedly did not endorse such options and instead, is learnt to have advised Fadnavis to keep the saffron flock together for formation of the government. If the party fails to convince Sena, it should opt for President’s Rule and face fresh elections, said sources.

During the discussion, Bhagwat reportedly told Fadnavis that the party should take senior BJP leader and union minister Nitin Gadkari into confidence and involve him for negotiations with the Sena leaders for government formation. Gadkari has a good rapport with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and he can use his good offices to convince them for a government that has a “Hindutva” agenda.

But the RSS made it clear that the mandate was for a saffron government with a chief minister from the BJP which cannot be compromised upon. Besides, the RSS was also not in favour of giving key Home ministry to Sena, sources said.

The two allies, who together have the required numbers, have not been able to come together to form a government after the assembly election results were announced on October 24.

The Shiv Sena has been pressing for the 50-50 power sharing arrangement.

The vocal Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that government has to be formed as per what was agreed on between the BJP and Shiv Sena before the polls and not on the basis of which is the single largest party. However, the BJP is not ready for the 50-50 power sharing and offering the post of chief minister to its ally.

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