BJP to meet gov Koshyari; Uddhav calls MLAs to decide CM issue.
Mumbai: A breakthrough in the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena stalemate over government formation in Maharashtra is expected Thursday. Though the two alliance partners remain adamant on their divergent stand on the issue of who will be the chief minister and for how long, with just two days left for the end of current Vidhan Sabha’s term, both the parties are under pressure to take a decision.
On Thursday, BJP leaders are scheduled to meet governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has called a meeting of his MLAs at his residence.
On Wednesday, in fact, BJP and Shiv Sena ministers met for the first time after the Assembly poll results were announced. Till now they had been communicating to each other mostly through the media.
Although the official agenda for the meeting was “wet drought” in the state, two senior Sena leaders – Eknath Shinde and Ramdas Kadam – held a separate meeting with CM Devendra Fadnavis after the ministers’ meeting.
According to sources, the Sena, in its meeting at Matoshree, will decide whether to pursue the chief minister’s post for two-and-a-half years or settle for the deputy CM’s post in the BJP-led government.
BJP leaders have repeatedly said that the chief minister’s post is non-negotiable. Senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said that the Mahayuti (alliance) will form the government under the leadership of Mr Fadnavis.
“I will meet the governor tomorrow along with the state party chief, Chandrakant Patil. Our formula has been decided. Whatever disillusionment was there will be weeded out. The people of Maharashtra have given their mandate in the favour of Mahayuti,” he said.
The Sena remains adamant on equal sharing of power and the chief minister’s post. Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who held a meeting with NCP leader Sharad Pawar on Wednesday morning and later with party chief Uddhav Thackeray, said that BJP must accept Sena’s demand for the chief minister’s post for the first 2.5 years if the Sena-BJP government is to be formed.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders also hinted that the party is not opposed to backing a Sena-led government. Former chief minister Ashok Chavan said that the mood in the party is to bring a non-BJP government in the state, but Sena must snap its ties with the BJP.
“A lot depends on the Sena and the decision they take. This situation has arisen because the BJP failed to take its alliance partners in confidence. The impasse has strained relations between the two parties. But a solution cannot be found till the Sena announces its break-up with the BJP,” he said.
Vijay Wadettiwar, Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly, claimed that 90 per cent MLAs of his party feel the BJP shouldn’t form the next government.
When asked about the possibility of his party supporting a Sena-led government, Mr Chavan said the Congress and the NCP will have to jointly decide on the issue.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar reiterated that his party and the Congress have got the mandate to be a “responsible Opposition”.
“The BJP and Sena should form the government soon. We will work as a responsible Opposition,” he said.