With the imbroglio over the formation of Maharashtra government continuing well into its 14th day, with no end in sight, the Shiv Sena, fearing poaching bid by the BJP, reportedly moved its MLAs to a hotel in Mumbai on Thursday (November 7). A delegation of BJP leaders meanwhile met Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari to discuss government formation and push for Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister.
Soon after the development was reported by media, senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut addressing a press conference said that there was no change in his party’s stand on government formation in Maharashtra, reiterating the party’s demand to share the chief minister’s post.
He also asked that if the people’s mandate was for the Mahayuti (grand alliance), why the BJP was not staking claim to form government. Attacking the BJP, he said those responsible for political instability were causing harm to the state. “We are not changing our stand on government formation; all our MLAs are supporting Uddhav Thackeray,” he added.
Raut’s press conference and the shifting of MLAs to the Rang Sharda Hotel in Bandra (West) came soon after Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray wrapped up a meeting with his legislators earlier on Thursday morning at his residence Matoshree.
During the meeting, Sena MLAs passed a resolution, authorising party Thackeray to take a “final decision” on government formation in Maharashtra.
“It is necessary for all the MLAs to be together in the prevailing situation. Whatever decision Uddhavji takes will be binding on all of us,” Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu said while commenting on their moving to the hotel.
Thackeray chaired the meeting of all-party MLAs for over an hour during which discussions were held on the political situation and the legislators reiterated that the formula of “equal sharing of posts and responsibilities” agreed upon before the Lok Sabha polls should be implemented. “The Sena MLAs passed a resolution authorising Uddhavji to take a final decision regarding government formation,” party legislator Shambhuraje Desai told reporters after the meeting.
Sena MLA Abdul Sattar said, “The next chief minister will be from the Shiv Sena. Uddhavji will take a final decision regarding government formation.” Another MLA, on condition of anonymity, said Thackeray was “hurt” over the ongoing developments in the state. “He (Thackeray) feels issues could have been resolved by sitting across the table. This did not happen. Instead, what was decided was denied. Uddhavji said he did not want to break the alliance with the BJP. He only expects that what was decided be implemented,” the legislator said. “He told us to wait and watch,” the MLA added.
Meanwhile, a BJP delegation comprising Girish Mahajan, Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar and Ashish Shelar met Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to push for Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister. Sources say the BJP leaders discussed legal options for government formation with the Governor.
On Thursday morning, Union minister Nitin Gadkari had said that the BJP under the chief ministership of Devendra Fadnavis would form the government in the state, and was confident that the Shiv Sena will support the government.
Asking the media not to misinterpret his meeting with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, he said the latter has no role to play with the government formation in the state.
The past one week has witnessed a slew of meetings and war of words between the two allies as well as non-committal comments from the Sena’s prospective ally – the Congress-NCP combine, serving no solution to the deadlock whatsoever.
While the Sena is adamant on its set of demands, the BJP has refused to budge from its stance to not oblige.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar meanwhile on Wednesday (November 6) ruled out any possibility of his party forming the next government and had stressed that they (along with ally Congress) would sit in the Opposition.
“The BJP-Shiv Sena has been given the mandate to form the government and they should realise this responsibility and form the government quickly. The Congress and the NCP have been asked to sit in the Opposition by the electorate and we will do our job as per the wishes of the people,” Indian Express quoted Pawar as telling the media.
In the recently-held Assembly elections, the BJP-Sena alliance won a combined seat strength of 161, way past the 145 majority mark in the 288-member house. The BJP had won 105 seats, Shiv Sena 56, NCP 54 and the Congress 44.
(With inputs from agencies)