Maharashtra Impasse | BJP hints at truce with Sena, to meet Governor tomorrow with Fadnavis' 'message'
Mumbai | Jagran News Desk: With the deadline for government formation in Maharashtra just two days away, the BJP on Wednesday said that it will meet the Governor on Thursday, sparking speculations of reaching a truce with ally Shiv Sena.
Led by state unit president Chandrakant Patil, a delegation of the BJP, the single largest party in the House, would meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari "with a message approved by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis," senior leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Wednesday.
"The details of the meeting with the governor will be shared with media later," Mungantiwar said.
He also informed that the party has decided to initiate procedure to select a new state unit president. He said incumbent Chandrakant Patil will remain in the next Cabinet.
"The procedure to select new state BJP chief will be completed by December 31," Mungantiwar said.
Six Shiv Sena ministers attended a meeting called by Fadnavis on the farm crisis. But, reports said that the issue of farm crisis was also discussed.
"You cannot separate water, no matter how much you try to. Shiv Sena and BJP are together... We should wait for the news, the good news can come anytime," Mungantiwar was quoted as saying.
Hours later, BJP ministers met at the Chief Minister's home to discuss how to divide portfolios with the Sena, which has demanded an equal share in power including a turn at the Chief Minister's post by rotation.
Earlier today, ending speculations of the possibility of formation of a non-BJP government in the state led by Shiv Sena, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that the BJP and Sena should form government at the earliest, and asserted that his party and its ally Congress will work as a "responsible opposition".
Addressing the media after meeting senior Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, Pawar ruled out joining the Uddhav Thackeray-led party in government with the outside support of the Congress, an idea making rounds in political circles for the last few days.
"Where is the question (of a non-BJP government)?" he asked, saying the BJP and the Shiv Sena have been in alliance for 25 years, and they "will come together sooner or later".
"If we had the numbers, we wouldn't have waited for anyone (for government formation). The Congress and NCP didn't cross the 100 mark...we will work as a responsible opposition," said the 78-year-old political stalwart.
Noting that the BJP and Shiv Sena have got the mandate to rule, he said, "They should form the government at the earliest and not allow the state to slip in a constitutional crisis. They should allow us to fulfil the mandate assigned to us by people (to sit in opposition)."
The Maratha strongman also dismissed speculation that he may return as the state's chief minister. "I have been the chief minister four times and have no interest again," he said.
On Raut claiming the Shiv Sena will install its chief minister with the support of 170 MLAs, Pawar wondered from where the party will manage to get this number. "I have read about him talking about (backing of) 170 (MLAs to the Shiv Sena for government formation). We are also searching from where they will be cobbled up," the former Union minister said.
Pawar's statement came a day after the NCP said that it was ready to join hands with Sena to form a government, but only when it walks out of the alliance with the BJP. According to reports, Pawar had also offered the chief minister’s post to Sena -- a demand which has been the bone of contention between the ruling alliance partners.
The BJP, which won 105 seats, and the Shiv Sena, which bagged 56, are locked in a bitter tussle over sharing of the chief minister's post and ministerial portfolios in new government, even two weeks after the Assembly poll verdict handed them a clear majority to form a coalition dispensation.
They won 161 seats together in the 288-member House, much above the halfway mark of 145. Besides, the opposition NCP won 54 seats, while the Congress got 44.
The Sena had called off a meeting to hold formal talks with the BJP on October 29 after Fadnavis rejected Thackeray's claims that a formula had been "agreed upon" on "equal sharing of power" between the parties ahead of the April-May 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
High-profile meetings in New Delhi on Monday between Pawar and Sonia Gandhi, and the one between Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP chief Amit Shah failed to give any indication of breaking the logjam over government formation.
Raut has time and again said the state's next chief minister will be from his party. However, the BJP has insisted that Fadnavis will continue in the post.
Posted By: Abhinav Gupta