Breaking his silence on Maharashtra logjam, Bharatiya Janata Party president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that no one objected when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he publicly said that Devendra Fadnavis would be the chief minister if the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance wins the assembly polls in Maharashtra.
Speaking to ANI Editor Smita Prakash exclusively in New Delhi on Wednesday, Shah, when asked to comment on the collapse of the alliance in Maharashtra, said: "Before elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I said many times in public that if our alliance wins, then Devendra Fadnavis will be the CM. No one objected back then.
"Now they have come up with new demands which are not acceptable to us."
He rejected the accusations that the BJP has betrayed the Shiv Sena.
"We were ready to form the government with the Shiv Sena. But there were certain things of Shiv Sena we could not have agreed," he said.
This is Shah's first interview since Maharashtra's results were out on October 24.
The subsequent political uncertainty over the government formation snowballed into a major crisis, which ultimately resulted in the imposition of President's Rule in the state.
Shah said that it will be inappropriate to disclose the deliberations that were held 'behind closed doors' between his party and the Shiv Sena over government formation.
When asked what stopped the BJP from forming the government with its ally Shiv Sena, Shah said, "This is not in the ethics of my party to make public discussions that were held behind the closed doors. There has to be the dignity of public discourse."
"But I would like to make it clear that if there is any party which has suffered the most with the imposition of President's Rule in Maharashtra, then it is the BJP. We have lost a caretaker government. The Opposition has lost nothing," Shah said.
He said the effort of the opposition parties to raise a ruckus over the imposition of President's Rule in Maharashtra was 'a meaningless exercise to gain public sympathy' and anyone can still approach the Governor if they have a majority to form the government.
"If they (Opposition) wanted to gain public sympathy by creating a misconception about President's Rule, then it means they do not trust the intelligence of the public," he added.
Asked what would happen after President's Rule ends in six months, Shah said he did not want midterm elections in Maharashtra.
"I do not want re-election in Maharashtra. After the completion of the six-month period, the Governor will take legal opinion and take the constitutional step. Those who say that imposing President's Rule was unconstitutional, I would like to tell them that they still have their rights. They just do not have the required numbers. If they have numbers, then they can go and form the government," the BJP president outlined.
Shah also took a dig at the Congress over its allegations that the President's Rule was imposed in a hurry and its ally Nationalist Congress Party was not given enough time to show the majority.
"Probably they do not ask their allies," he said.
Shah said that between 11.30 am and 12 noon on Tuesday, the NCP expressed its inability to form the government by writing a letter to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari that they cannot form government till the time given of 8.30 pm.
"After that, there was no point of the President waiting till 8.30 pm," he said.
Asked if more time was given for the government formation in Goa and Arunachal Pradesh, he said nowhere more time was given.
"Before this, in no state was so much time given. 18 days were given. The Governor invited parties only after the assembly's tenure ended.
"Neither Shiv Sena nor Congress-NCP staked claim and neither we. Even if today any party has numbers, it can approach the Governor," he said.
He said political parties in Maharashtra had eighteen days after the declaration of results to show that they have a majority.
"After the assembly notification, the Governor waited for 18 days," he said, adding that no party or parties came forward to stake the claim to form the government.
"Any party could have approached the Governor. The time to give invitation came after the term of assembly ended (on November 9)," he said.
He said the Governor has to take action after the term of assembly ends and he asked different parties.
"Once assembly is notified, any party or alliance can go to the Governor. What the Governor could have done. Everyone has been given time," he said.
"Even today if someone has a majority, they can contact the Governor and stake the claim," he said.
The Union home minister said the assembly has not been dissolved but kept in suspended animation.
He said allegations could have been made if the assembly was dissolved.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena got an absolute majority in Maharashtra assembly polls but could not form the government due to differences over power-sharing.
The Shiv Sena had insisted on having the Chief Minister's post for two-and-half-year but the BJP said there was no such agreement.
The BJP emerged as the single-largest party with 105 seats followed by the Shiv Sena with 56. The NCP won 54 seats and the Congress 44.
Congress and NCP fought the polls in an alliance.