The deadlock between allies BJP and Shiv Sena continued on Friday (November 1), for the eighth straight day since the assembly election results were announced on October 24.
Meanwhile, the media speculated of a new twist in the saffron power tussle over an unconfirmed report that the chiefs of Sena and the opposition NCP, Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar, spoke over the phone on Thursday night.
A report on Hindustan Times quoted party insiders as saying that Thackeray had called Sena leader Sanjay Raut when he was at Pawar’s residence. Raut had termed this visit to Pawar’s residence as a “courtesy call”.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena are locked in a dispute over the post of chief minister and the power-sharing formula for the new government. If a new government is not formed by November 7, BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said, President’s rule will be imposed in the state.
The tenure of the existing Legislative Assembly ends on November 8. Mungantiwar said the delay in talks between BJP and Sena was due to the Diwali festival, adding parleys will start in a day or two. “People of Maharashtra have given mandate not to any party but to the Mahayuti (alliance comprising BJP, Shiv Sena and other parties),” he said.
“A new government will have to be in place within the stipulated time, or else the President will have to intervene. President’s rule will be imposed if the government formation doesn’t happen in the given time,” Mungantiwar said.
Meanwhile, Raut has reasserted the Sena’s demand saying that the new chief minister of Maharashtra will be from his party. He added that there have been no talks yet between the BJP and Sena on government formation.
If the Sena decides, it can get the required numbers to form a stable government in Maharashtra, he said. People have given mandate to form government on the basis of “50:50 formula” that was reached in front of the people of Maharashtra, Raut said.
The NCP will try to give an alternative if the BJP and the Shiv Sena fail to form government in Maharashtra, the opposition party’s chief spokesperson, Nawab Malik, said on Friday. Malik’s comment came even as senior party leader Ajit Pawar has maintained the NCP will sit in the opposition along with the Congress.
Ajit Pawar said late on Thursday night that the people of the state have asked his party to sit in the opposition, as reflected in the election results, and it will do so.
Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam criticised his party leaders who are mulling supporting the Shiv Sena in formation of the next government in Maharashtra. “Congress should not get into Shiv Sena-BJP drama. It’s fake. It’s their temporary fight to grab more power share,” said the ex-MP, who is miffed with party leadership over ticket distribution for the October 21 polls.
“To the best of my understanding, Shiv Sena will never come out of BJPs shadow,” said Nirupam, who was associated with the Bal Thackeray-founded party before joining the Congress.
Meanwhile, senior state Congress leaders were in Delhi on Friday to apprise the party leadership of the political situation in Maharashtra. MPCC chief Balasaheb Thorat said there is political instability in the state and blamed the BJP for the same. “Our stand now is wait and watch,” Thorat said.
His predecessor and former CM Ashok Chavan said the BJP has cheated the Shiv Sena as is evident from the senior ruling alliance partner not willing to abide by what was decided between the two parties before the elections.
(With inputs from agencies)