One week since results, no sight of govt formation in Maharashtra

BJP-Shiv Sena, Aaditya Thackeray, Sanjay Raut, Maharashtra Assembly elections
Shiv Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray leaves after the announcement of Eknath Shinde as party legislative leader, in Mumbai | PTI Photo

It has been a week since the Maharashtra Assembly election results were announced on October 24, however, uncertainty still continues over the formation of government in the state. The pre-poll allies, the BJP and the Shiv Sena, are at loggerheads over the quantum of power-sharing between the two parties with the latter indicating that it has not given up its claim on the post of chief minister.

Equal sharing of power must mean sharing of the top post too — the Sena reasserted its claim on the post of chief minister on Thursday (October 31) as its MP Sanjay Raut turned down as rumours reports that the party has softened its stand on the issue of power sharing. The party has also accused the BJP of enacting a “second act” of the “use and throw” policy while dealing with its allies.

Also read | Maha power tussle: Sena hits back with CM’s role-sharing clip

“The (reports that) Sena has softened (its stand), has compromised and relinquished equitable distribution of posts, are all rumours…This is the public, which knows everything. Whatever was decided (between BJP and Sena), will happen,” he said.

The saffron allies Sena and BJP are locked in a dispute over the power-sharing formula for the new government. The two parties had in February entered a pre-poll agreement for the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, which found a mention in an editorial Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. The piece asserted that whatever was decided between the parties then should be implemented.

Eknath Shinde appointed Sena’s leader in legislature

Meanwhile, Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde was on Thursday elected Sena’s leader in the state legislature. His candidature was proposed by party leader Aaditya Thackeray, whose name was also doing the rounds for the post. The election was announced at a meeting of the newly-elected Sena MLAs at party office Sena Bhawan in Dadar area.

Sena sources said party chief and Aaditya’s father Uddhav Thackeray was not keen to appoint his son as the head of the Sena’s legislative unit. At the meeting, the sources said, Uddhav Thackeray was apparently dismayed by CM Devendra Fadnavis’ remarks that sharing the CM’s post did not figure in the talks between top Sena and BJP leaders ahead of this year’s Lok Sabha polls.

Also read | Declare ‘wet drought’ in Maharashtra: Aaditya Thackeray to governor

Aaditya Thackeray on Thursday evening asked Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to declare a wet drought in the state owing to unseasonal rain in various parts. Heavy post-monsoon showers in various areas in Maharashtra have prompted this demand, Aaditya told reporters after meeting Koshyari at Raj Bhavan with Sena leaders and legislators in tow.

He and other Sena leaders submitted a memorandum to the governor, seeking “all possible help” to farmers and fishermen affected by heavy rains. “We requested the governor to provide assistance to farmers and fishermen who suffered damages due to recent rains. He has assured us that he himself will talk to the Centre,” he said.

Also read | Layman lays the rules: A message loud and clear in Maharashtra, Haryana

Asked about the delay in government formation in Maharashtra after the October 21 elections, Aaditya said his party has given all authority in the matter to Sena chief and his father Uddhav Thackeray. “I can’t comment on government formation, Uddhav sahib will have the final word,” he said.

Sources in the BJP, which won 105 of the 288 seats in the Assembly, claimed that their party has the support of 13 independent MLAs.

Kharge attends meeting of Congress MLAs

Congress general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge attended a meeting of the party’s newly-elected MLAs in Maharashtra at the party office here. State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat and senior party leaders, Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan and Sushilkumar Shinde were also present.

Congress MLAs are expected to elect the legislature party leader in the next four-five days in the presence of central observers, sources said. The party president will announce the name in Delhi, they added.

Also read | BJP never had power sharing deal with Sena, I will be the CM: Fadnavis

The Congress, hit by desertions by some prominent leaders, including Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, ahead of the Assembly elections, bagged 44 seats, two more than its 2014 tally.

A huge banner put up outside the office of the Nationalist Congress Party here said: Maharashtra’s history shows it never bows before the “throne of Delhi”. The banner echoed the remark made by party supremo Sharad Pawar when the Enforcement Directorate named him in a money laundering case in September.

Also read | Devendra Fadnavis elected Maharashtra BJP legislature party leader

“Maharashtra follows the ideology of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. We don’t bow before the Delhi ‘takht’ (throne),” Pawar had said on September 25.

Notwithstanding the defections of some prominent leaders, the NCP went on to win 54 seats in the polls, 13 more than its 2014 tally.

Meanwhile, in an interesting development on Thursday evening, staff of the Sena-controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation removed hoardings outside Matoshree, the Thackeray family residence in suburban Bandra, which read: Only Aaditya Thackeray as CM of Maharashtra.

(With inputs from agencies)