"The BJP legislature party leader would be elected after Diwali. Central observer Rajnath Singh will be in Mumbai after Diwali, and the new leader, who will become the chief minister, would be elected in his presence," the BJP functionary said. Read More: Shiv Sena hints patch-up with BJP, says its MPs will attend Modi's dinner
State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis was the front-runner for the CM's post, he said.
The party was using the interim period to shortlist those who would be in the ministry. So far, the focus is only on having BJP legislators in the ministry, he said, declining to comment on whether Sena may find a place in the new dispensation.
BJP has 122 members in the 288-member Assembly and is all set to meet Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to stake claim to form the government after Diwali.
With NCP offering "unconditional" outside support, some BJP leaders feel the Sena is no longer in a position to dictate terms.
Meanwhile, BJP is making attempts to get backing of independents and small parties. "We have so far secured support of seven independents and the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi which has three members. Talks are on with Peasants and Workers Party which has three MLAs," the BJP leader said.
Uddhav keen on alliance with BJP: Athawale
RPI chief Ramdas Athawale said that Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray was "very keen" on forming coalition with the estranged ally BJP for formation of government in Maharashtra.
"Uddhav Thackeray told me that he is very keen on forming the next government in alliance with BJP...Details of forming portfolios will be revealed once the talks take place in the next two days. But there is no doubt about the alliance of both parties now. Uddhav is completely ready to support BJP," Athawale said after meeting the Sena chief here this afternoon.
RPI is a part of BJP-led alliance in Maharashtra which fought the Assembly elections. Before it parted ways, Sena too was a part of this alliance.
Shiv Sena hints patch-up with BJP
Indicating at possible rapprochement, Shiv Sena said its MPs would attend the dinner to be hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for NDA allies, and that "objective" of both the Sena and BJP was to provide a stable government in Maharashtra.
"We were asked by (Sena chief) Uddhav Thackeray to meet BJP leaders in Delhi and talks were very positive. Maharashtra has given both parties a good mandate as it wants a stable government, and keeping the sentiments of the people in mind we will definitely provide Maharashtra a stable government," senior Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai said.
Asked if Sena MPs will attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Diwali dinner for NDA allies in Delhi on October 26, Desai said, "Modi has organised this dinner for all the NDA allies where he will be putting forth new ideas... Sena has received an invitation and all our MPs will be attend it."
He, however, evaded the question whether Uddhav Thackeray will attend the dinner.
"The BJP legislature party leader would be elected after Diwali. Central observer Rajnath Singh will be in Mumbai after Diwali, and the new leader, who will become the chief minister, would be elected in his presence," the BJP functionary said.
Read More: Shiv Sena hints patch-up with BJP, says its MPs will attend Modi's dinner