Mumbai: Building further pressures on major ruling ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Shiv Sena stayed away from a state Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, reiterating its demand that the government immediately announce a full waiver of farm loans.
Senior Sena leader and minister Subhash Desai said the decision was taken to highlight the government's "indifference" to the cause of farmers of the state, who are on an indefinite strike for the past one week.
"We met and informed the chief minister that we shall not attend Cabinet meetings till the government announces a waiver of farmers' loans," Desai told media persons.
Playing down the issue, senior BJP finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that the Sena ministers met Fadnavis and took leave of absence.
"They had informed of their intention to keep away from the Cabinet and informed us the reasons for it. Since there were no major issues to be discussed, they were permitted," Mungantiwar said.
The development came amid speculation that Fadnavis was planning to take up the issue of holding mid-term Assembly elections in the state with BJP President Amit Shah, who is coming for a three-day visit to Mumbai next week.
This is first time that Sena has skipped a cabinet meeting, indicating the worsened relations between the two major allies over several issues, the latest being the farmers' strike.
The Shiv Sena and another ally Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, have virtually joined the Opposition parties in backing and demanding succour for the striking farmers.
The Sena has been severely critical of the BJP since the strike began on 1 June and has demanded that the government take party President Uddhav Thackeray into confidence and accept all the farmers' demands.
Updated Date: Jun 07, 2017 20:31 PM