Maharashtra Impasse | Sena MP Arvind Sawant resigns as Union minister amid tussle with BJP
Mumbai | Jagran News Desk: Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant on Monday morning resigned as a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. The move is seen as an aftermath of the severing ties between Sena and BJP over the government formation in Maharashtra.
Addressing the media, Sawant said: "BJP went back from their pre election promises. It would not have been morally right for me to continue in the Centre, so I have resigned as Union Minister."
"Why stay in Delhi government in such a false environment. And that is why I am resigning as the Union minister," said Sawant, who served as the Union Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, said a tweet earlier in the day.
He said before the Lok Sabha polls, a formula was worked out about sharing of power and seat. Both the Shiv Sena and the BJP agreed to it.
"But now, it is shocking that the decision arrived at is being denied and the Shiv Sena is being projected as not speaking truth. This is shocking. This is a blot on the state's pride. The BJP has parted ways by crossing limits of falsehood," he said in another tweet.
The development comes a day after Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari asked Sena to "indicate the willingness and ability" of the party to stake claim, after the BJP declined to form government in the state.
The Sena, the second-largest party in the 288-member House with 56 MLAs after the BJP (105), has time till 7:30 pm on Monday, to stake the claim.
While the Sena has been making efforts to reach out to the NCP and the Congress, the Sharad Pawar-led party said the Sena will have to walk out of the NDA first.
News agency PTI quoted Congress sources saying that the party legislators from Maharashtra were meeting in Jaipur with senior leaders to discuss the possibility of supporting a Sena-led government.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra BJP core committee headed by caretaker Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will also meet in Mumbai on Monday.
The fast-paced developments seem to have increased the bargaining power of opposition Congress and NCP, as the Sena, which has 56 MLAs, is far away from the halfway mark of 145.
A day after the governor asked the BJP to indicate its willingness and ability to form government, Fadnavis informed him about the party's inability to do so due to lack of enough numbers.
The role of the Congress (44 MLAS) and the NCP (54 MLAs) is crucial now.
If the Sena decides to form a government with the support of Opposition parties, the collective strength of all the three parties will go up to 154 in the House, just above the halfway mark.
While the Congress refused to open its cards, the NCP made it clear that the Sena would have to break away from the NDA before the Sharad Pawar-led party can think of lending support to the Uddhav Thackeray's party.
However, Sena leader Sanjay Raut appeared unfazed and said his party would install its chief minister at any cost.
Sharing of power, especially the post of the CM on a rotational basis, was the bone of contention between the Sena and the BJP for the last 16 days, which resulted into a deadlock.
Fadnavis had rejected Thackeray's claims that BJP chief Amit Shah was agreed to his demand for a rotational chief ministership ahead of Lok Sabha polls.
Announcing the party's decision to not form government on Sunday evening, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil accused the Thackeray-led party of "disrespecting" the popular mandate secured by the NDA in recent assembly polls.
The governor had on Saturday invited the BJP to form government by virtue of it being the single largest party.
In fact, Patil wished "good luck" to the Sena to go ahead and form a government with the support of the Congress and the NCP.
"We contested together but the Sena does not want to come with us to form government. The mandate of the people of Maharashtra was for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. Sena has, however, disrespected the mandate, hence we have decided to not stake claim to form government. We have informed our decision to governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari," Patil told reporters outside Raj Bhavan.
"If the Sena wants to form the government with the help of the Congress and the NCP, we wish them good luck," he said after the BJP held meetings of its core committee.
Earlier in the day, Raut appeared sending feelers to the Congress and the NCP.
When a reporter pointed out that the Sena was not criticising the opposition NCP in the wake of a possible alliance between the two parties, Raut said, "We have not criticised the BJP either. The election campaign is over and things said during the campaign are irrelevant."
Asked if the Congress will support the Shiv Sena to form government, Raut said the Sonia Gandhi-led party is "not enemy of Maharashtra".
"If Congress leaders have taken any decision to ensure a stable government in Maharashtra, we welcome it," he said.
Every political party has differences with the other party. Like, the Sena and BJP differ on the issue of border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka over Belagavi (Belgaum) district, Raut said.
After the BJP's announcement, he said, "Maharashtra will have Senas chief minister at any cost. Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday informed the party MLAs that Sena will have its chief minister."
"How will BJP have its chief minister when they are not staking a claim to form government," Raut added.
Posted By: Abhinav Gupta