Maharashtra Govt Formation LIVE Updates: Amid the political turmoil in Maharashtra, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP chief Chandrakant Dada Patil will hold a meeting with all party leaders in Mumbai on Friday. 'From district to booth leaders, MPs and MLAs, all will attend the meeting,' Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Bandra West Ashish Shelar said in a press conference.
Maharashtra Govt Formation Latest Updates: Amid the political turmoil in Maharashtra, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP chief Chandrakant Dada Patil will hold a meeting with all party leaders in Mumbai on Friday. "From district to booth leaders, MPs and MLAs, all will attend the meeting," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Bandra West Ashish Shelar said in a press conference.
He said that the party will be reaching out to 90,000 booths of the BJP in order to strengthen them. The party's MLAs and MPs will be meeting farmers to provide them immediate relief, he added.
Sena-NCP-Congress government will be formed in Maharashtra and it will last for five years, NCP leader Sharad Pawar asserted on Friday. He, however, did not comment on the modalities being worked out among the partners over government formation.
Speaking on the government formation in Maharashtra, NCP leader Sharad Pawar said, "The process to form government has begun, the government will run for full 5 years." However, on a question about Sena demanding the chief minister's post, he remained elusive and said he will think about it.
NCP leader Nawab Malik on Friday confirmed that the erstwhile Maha-agadhi alliance is ready to support Shiv Sena's demand for chief minister's post, in order to form a fresh coalition with the Maratha party included.
Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, speaking to the media after the Congress,Shiv Sena, and NCP joint meeting to strike up a possible alliance on Thursday, said, "Common Minimum Programme was discussed in the meeting,and a draft has been prepared. The draft will be sent to high command of three parties for discussion, final decision will be taken by high commands."
The Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP held a joint meeting in Mumbai to refine an agreement of a possible alliance between them and also held further discussion on the Common Minimum Programme on Thursday.
BJP president Amit Shah questioned the Shiv Sena why it didn't raise objections before the election when the party had said that Devendra Fadnavis will be the chief minister.
"Before elections, the prime minister and I said many times in public that if our alliance wins then Devendra Fadnavis will be the CM, no one objected back then. Now they have come up with new demands which are not acceptable to us," he told ANI.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Shah also accused the Opposition of playing politics over government formation in Maharashtra while rejecting claims that the Maharashtra governor acted unconstitutionally by recommending President's Rule in Maharashtra.
"Even today if anyone has the numbers they can approach the Governor. The Governor has not denied chance to anyone. A learned lawyer like Kapil Sibal is putting forth childish arguments like ‘we were denied a chance to form Govt’," he said.
Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday said that the party was on alert to prevent a possible "Operation lotus" — attempts by the BJP to engineer defections from other parties — in Maharashtra, reports PTI.
Chavan, a former chief minister, alleged while speaking to a news channel that the BJP was trying to stop the Sena from joining hands with the Congress and NCP. "We are alert about `Operation lotus'," he said.
He also said that no talk on power-sharing has begun yet while maintaining that the Congress, NCP and Sena are focussing on finalising the Common Minimum Programme.
A day after President's rule was imposed in Maharashtra, Congress MLAs who were camping at a resort in Jaipur for the last five days returned to Mumbai on Wednesday, reports PTI.
The MLAs have been asked to return home, said a legislator, adding that the state Congress leadership had told them that they would be informed about further decisions of the party next week.
All 44 Congress MLAs in the state have "Congress in their blood" and nobody can poach them, he said.
"The Shiv Sena and the Congress are ideologically different. The Sena is a hardcore Hindutva party, and we are a hardcore secular party," Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam told The Print.
"Joining hands with the Shiv Sena will dent Congress’ image in Maharashtra and nationally," he said.
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray met Maharashtra Congress leaders in Mumbai on Wednesday and said talks over government formation in the state were progressing in the "right direction" and a decision will be taken at an appropriate time.
Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat, however, dubbed the meet with Thackeray as a "courtesy call", and said the fact that they were meeting was itself a "positive" step.
Thackeray held talks with Thorat, former state chief minister Ashok Chavan and senior Congress leader Manikrao Thakre at a suburban hotel. The meeting, which took place a day after President's Rule was imposed in the state, lasted for about an hour.
Sunil Fernandes, Shiv Sena's advocate said that the NDA ally will not file a fresh petition in the Supreme Court on Wednesday and that the decision on when to file it hasn't been taken yet.
"Decision on when to file it hasn't been taken yet. No mention of yesterday's petition against Maharashtra Governor's decision to decline giving the Shiv Sena three days to submit the letter of support, has also been taken."
Drawing back from its previous claim about filing new plea in Supreme Court, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday said it is not seeking an urgent hearing in the apex court, CNN-News18 reported.
It was also reported that the party will file new petition only after letters of support from the NCP and Congress.
The Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece Saamana took a potshot at the BJP on Wednesday for allowing President's Rule to be imposed in Maharashtra and said the situation could have been averted had the saffron party kept on its promise.
"The mandate has been given to both the parties. The policy that the two put together has got this mandate. The BJ were not ready to accept this, that is why we had to take this step to maintain the pride of the land of Maharashtra," the NDA ally said in it editorial.
"Why should anyone blame us for this? It is said that the Bharatiya Janata Party is a party with elements, morals and rituals, so in the context of Maharashtra, they should have followed the same elements and rituals. The situation would not have been avoided if the BJP had kept its promise," it added.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi slammed Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for recommending a President's Rule in the state.
BJP leader Sudhir Mugantiwar spoke to the media after the party's core committee meeting on Tuesday and said that the situation of President's Rule in the state was "definitely not expected".
He said, "President's rule is definitely something we did not expect. We will certainly try to ensure that people's mandate is respected. We will try to form a stable government. We will stand by the people of the state."
Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis issued a press note after the President's Rule was imposed in the state on Tuesday. "President's rule is unfortunate but we expect that Maharashtra will get a stable government soon," he said.
His statement was echoed by BJP leader Narayan Rane who said, "The BJP will try to form the government. Devendra Fadnavis is putting in all efforts in this direction. I think NCP-Congress are trying to make a fool out of Shiv Sena."
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray took a jibe at Maharashtra governor's recommendation to impose President's Rule in the state, and the subsequent imposition after approval from Ram Nath Kovind, and said that the governor was so "considerate" that he had given the party six months "to work out modalities with the Congress and NCP." Six months is the stipulated time under a President's Rule situation.
The party had on Monday asked the governor for a period of 48 hours to stake claim to form the government, which was rejected. Taking a potshot at the governor, he said, "The Maharashtra governor is perhaps the most considerate in the whole country, who has given us a time of six months instead of 48 hours."
"After expressing willingness to form the government, we asked for more time because as the Congress and NCP wanted clarity on some issues, even we wanted clarity on some issues. Some sections are raising questions about parties of different ideologies coming together, but if it happened in Jammu and Kashmir between the PDP and BJP, and in other states, we are also exploring options here," Uddhav said.
"I didn't understand the logic behind the governor's decision, but now we have been given a lot of time to hold talks so we will finalise common minimum programme first," he added.
"The governor invited the BJP, the biggest party, to form the government. But when the party said it couldn't form the government, we got a letter within the time frame given to the BJP, that we must express willingness to form the government,"
"After the Congress and NCP press conference, it is an indisputed fact that the Shiv Sena communicated with the Opposition alliance to request support to form the government," Uddhav said.
Congress leader Ahmed Patel said that the imposition of President's Rule in Maharashtra was "anti-democratic", and also noted that Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had not called the Congress to form the government, despite being the fourth largest party in the state.
"The way President's rule was recommended, I condemn it. This government has violated the SC guidelines on President's rule on several occasions in the last 5 years," he said.
"The governor is making fun of the Constitution," the alliance partners were quoted as saying by CNN-News18.
We will not form an alliance in haste, Patel added, saying that the party will hold further discussions and consult the NCP over the future course of action. "We also need to work out the common minimum programme," he said.
Congress and NCP are currently briefing the media on the meeting held between the two parties on Tuesday. NCP leader Praful Patel said that the parties will issue a joint statement.
"The Shiv Sena for the first time communicated with the Congress and NCP on 11 November (yesterday). After today's meeting, we need to hold further discussion. The two parties will come to a consensus after more discussion on the political situation in the state," Praful Patel said.
Congress leader Ahmed Patel said that the imposition of President's Rule in Maharashtra was "anti-democratic", and also noted that Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had not called the Congress to form the government, despite being the fourth largest party in the state.
The Supreme Court registry on Tuesday said that it had informed the Shiv Sena regarding its petition challenging Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's refusal to extend the deadline to the party to stake claim to form the government in the state.
The registry is likely to mention the matter on Wednesdat at 10.30 am as it is not possible to constitute a bench on Tuesday, Bar and Bench reported. "The second petition challenging the imposition of President Rule is likely to be filed tomorrow," the report said.
Reports said that the meeting between allies NCP and Congress in Mumbai has ended. According to India Today, the Sharad Pawar-led party has proposed for its alliance partner to have the deputy chief minister's post for five years while insisting that the party joins the coalition government between NCP and Shiv Sena.
The NCP is also expected to bargain for a rotational chief minister's post between itself and the Shiv Sena, if the parties manage to cobble up a coalition government amid President's Rule being imposed in the state.
Reports also said that Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel, and KC Venugopal in the meeting with Sharad Pawar have demanded a common minimum programme.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has outlined the conditions of President's Rule that has been imposed in Maharashtra on the governor's recommendation, and said that as per protocol, the directive will only be valid for six months.
"The President's Rule can be withdrawn if any party can prove majority," the statement was quoted as saying by reports. The statement also said that the decision was taken after the Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's recommendation because he claimed that a stable government couldn't be formed in the state.
India Today and CNN-News18 reported that President Ram Nath Kovind has approved Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's recommendation for President's Rule in Maharashtra.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has sent the file on Maharashtra Governor's recommendation to impose President's Rule in the state to President Ram Nath Kovind for his assent. Reportedly, Kovind is travelling and is set to return to the National Capital at 5 pm today.
Reports also said that Kovind is set to take a decision on the situation shortly.
Senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, KC Venugopal, Ahmed Patel, authorised by party interim president Sonia Gandhi to work out a power-sharing equation with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), have arrived in Mumbai.
The meeting between Congress and NCP is scheduled for 5 pm.
Congress leaders Sanjay Nirupam and Randeep Surjewala criticised Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's recommendation that President's Rule be imposed in Maharashtra, in the absence of a government in the state even two weeks after the Assembly election results were announced.
However, leaders from the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena have accused the governor of "unconstitutionally" declining enough time to the second and third largest parties to stake a claim.
Nirupam said, "The imposition of President Rule in Maharashtra was decided long ago.But Hon Governer should have waited till 8.30 tonight before sending report to Centre. Because he only had fixed this deadline with NCP as last option to form the government. Prima facie it looks illegal and unconstitutional now."
Meanwhile, Surjewala said that the governor had "committed a grave travesty of the democracy and made a mockery of the Constitutional process" in reccomending President’s Rule in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena has sought an urgent hearing in the case agains bid to impose President's Rule in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena said, "Governor wrongfully declined to give three days time". Shiv Sena MLA Anil Parab is a co-petitioner in the case. However, the Supreme Court has not said anything about hearing the case on an urgent basis.
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Tuesday recommended President's rule in the state. An important executive development was mired in confusion as media outlets, including state-run Prasar Bharti and Doordarshan leaked the news citing sources. Meanwhile, several journalists quoted Raj Bhavan Spokesperson to negate the reports. The confusion cleared up only when the Raj Bhavan confirmed recommendation of President's Rule at its official handle.
Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari confirmed on the Raj Bhavan's official Twitter handle having recommended the President's Rule. He said that his actions were as per the law.
Confusion over President Rule in Maharashtra prevails as conflicting reports continue to filer in. PTI cited sources to claim that Cabinet has recommended President's Rule in Maharashtra. Meanwhile several journalists, along with NCP leader Ajit Pawar claimed Raj Bhavan officials have denied such a claim.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the governor has already sent the recommendation to impose President's Rule in Maharashtra and Shiv Sena leaders are already reacting to the media reports. Party leader Priyanka Chaturvedi asked on Twitter that how can the governor defy his own deadline of 8.30 pm given to NCP to form government.
Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said that the party is in no hurry to form the government and will wait for the Congress' decision. "We (Congress and NCP) contested together and we remain together," he said.
Sources told CNN-News18 that NCP wants both the Shiv Sena and Congress on board, instead of getting 'outside support'. If the three parties come together, the chief minister will be from the Shiv Sena. Senior Congress leaders KC Venugopal and Mallikarjun Kharge, who were supposed to visit Mumbai to discuss modalities of support to the Shiv Sena for government formation in Maharashtra, have deferred their visit, Congress' Manikrao Thakre told PTI.
President Ram Nath Kovind accepted Arvind Sawant's resignation on Tuesday. Prakash Javadekar has been given additional charge of the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
Meanwhile, Congress' Sanjay Nirupam blamed the BJP and Shiv Sena for bringing Maharashtra to the "doorstep of President's Rule". He said holding Congress responsible for the instability the state is witnessing currently is meaningless.
The Bharatiya Janata Party's core group will meet again today to discuss the political situation in Maharashtra as the route to Sena-NCP-Congress alliance no longer appears as smooth as the Maratha party was letting on until Monday morning. The Congress has said it is yet to make up its mind on government formation, and no alternate alliance is possible without the grand old party's support.
Congress and Nationalist Congress Party will hold discussions over government today at 2 pm. The two parties are mulling to support a Shiv Sena-led government. However, they haven't come to a decision yet.
Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, issuing a statement on inviting the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the government in the state, said, "Despite the passage of 16 days, no single party or alliance of parties has come forward with requisite letter of support from alliance partners to form the government."
BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar on Monday weighed in on the tumultous political situation in Maharashtra as the Shiv Sena and NCP made frenzied attempts on Monday to cobble together a coalition government. After the meeting of senior BJP leaders, Mungantiwar said, "The BJP core team meeting has concluded. The political situation in the state was discussed in the meeting. On its basis, BJP is taking the stand of 'wait and watch'."
A delegation of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has reached the Raj Bhavan for a meeting with Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari after reports claimed that the authority had invited the Sharad Pawar-led party to stake claim to form the government.
"At 8.30 pm, the Governor called us and asked me to come to meet him. Along with Chhagan Bhujbal, Jayant Patil and others, I am going to meet him. We have no idea as to why did he call us. Governor is an important person so we are going to meet him."
NCP leader Ajit Pawar spoke to the media soon after reports claimed that the Maharashtra governor has invited the NCP to stake the claim to form the government in the state. Pawar said that a delegation of party leaders, including Chhagan Bhujbal, is going to meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
He also said, "We dont know why we are being invited to form the government, I don't know the agenda, we are going to talk to the governor now."
Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Monday kept the ball rolling in the political situation in Maharashtra and has invited the Sharad Pawar-led NCP to form govt after the Shiv Sena failed to prove the support from other parties, says report.
Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari on Monday issued a statement clarifying that the Shiv Sena's demand for an extention of the deadline to stake claim to form the government was rejected because the party hadn't been able to provide the "requisite letters of support" from the Congress and NCP.
"A delegation of the Shiv Sena met the Governor and expressed its willingness to form the government. However, they couldn't submit the requisite letters of support.They submitted a letter requesting a three-day extension for submitting the letters of support. The Governor has expressed inability to give further extension," the statement said.
Shiv Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray briefed the media on the party's discussion with Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari on Monday. He said that within 24 hours of receiving a letter to stake claim to form the government from the governor, they had held talks with the Congress and NCP on possibility of extending support.
"We are tet to get a letter of support from Congress, NCP. But we have expressed our willingness to form the government in Maharashtra to the governor. We have sought two more days to stake the claim, and though the governor has rejected the request in person, it has not been rejected on paper," he said.
With the CWC meeting chaired by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi having concluded, the party has reportedly decided to offer "outside support" to the Shiv Sena and NCP in forming the government in Maharashtra.
Sources were quoted by ANI as saying that th eCongress will support Shiv Sena and NCP, both the parties have been informed. "Final proceedings are being done," the statement said.
Reports also quoted Congress leader KC Venugopal as saying that a letter of support to the Shiv Sena hasn't been sent yet, even as Shiv Sena leaders are currently at the Raj Bhavan to meet the Maharashtra governor.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena is likely to ask Mahrashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari for an extention of 24 hours on the deadline given to stake claim to form the government. A multi-car convoy of Shiv Sena leaders has just reached the Raj Bhavan for a meeting with the governor, reports said.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), an ally of the Congress who is considering joining the Shiv Sena in a coalition government, has demanded that a senior member of the Shiv Sena be instituted as the chief minister.
The alliance between the Shiv Sena and BJP broke down in the days since the Assembly election results were declared, on the former's demand that there should be a rotational chief minister's post in the state.
The Congress, after a crucial CWC meeting chaired by interim president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi, is likely to offer "outside support" to the Shiv Sena on forming the government in Maharashtra, India Today reported.
The report said that Sonia is not in favour of being part of the government which is what its ally NCP chief Sharad Pawar was batting for, but has indicated willingness to offer outside support to the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi reportedly spoke to the party's Maharashtra MLAs who are lodged in a Jaipur hotel amid the political crisis in the state. Sonia is also currently chairing a crucial CWC meeting to take a decision on whether the party should support the Shiv Sena in forming the government.
Amid the political crisis in Maharashtra, reports claimed that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray reached out to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi even as the CWC meeting is currently underway.
According to India Today, Thackeray has asked for Sonia's support to form the government ahead of the party's appointment with the state governor at 7.30 pm. Thackeray on Monday also met Congress ally, NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has also reached interim party chief Sonia Gandhi’s residence in Delhi for the senior party leader's meeting on the ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra.
The party is expected to take a decision on whether to support Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena for its claim to form the government after the BJP, which won the most seats in the October election, said it was unable to prove majority.
The Congress, with its ally NCP, is likely to decide on whether to support the Shiv Sena ahead of the latter's appointment with Maharashtra governor at 7.30 pm on Monday.
Former prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) supremo Deve Gowda on Monday weighed in on the political impasse in Maharashtra, which is playing out similar to the situation that occurred in Gowda's home state of Karnataka after the Assembly election in 2018.
The JD(U) had formed a coalition government with the Congress after BS Yediyurappa-led BJP in the state had failed to prove its majority. With JD(U)'s HD Kumaraswamy as the chief minister, the coalition government was in power for a little over a year before it fell after it was hit by mass resignations of MLAs. Currently, Yediyurappa is at the helm of a BJP government in the state.
On Monday, Gowda commented on the possibility of the Congress-NCP alliance lending support to Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, whose demand for a rotational chief minister's post has put it at loggerheads with its long-time ally, the BJP.
"If Congress gives support to Shiv Sena, they should not disturb it for the next five years. Only then people will trust the Congress," Gowda said.
"Bala Saheb gave a place to the BJP in Maharashtra, LK Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had gone to Bala Saheb's residence and requested him for seats. The BJP overrode that, that's why Uddhav Thackeray has taken a stand that he will teach them a lesson. Now, it's for Congress and NCP to put down BJP," he added.
Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who has been at the forefront of the "junior ally"s "belligerent" demand of a rotational chief minister's post after the Maharashtra Assembly election in October, is reportedly admitted to the Lilavati hospital. However, the ANI report said more details were awaited.
Senior members of the Maharashtra Congress are scheduled to meet party MLAs at 4 pm even as Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar concluded amid a situation of tumult in the state's politics.
After the NCP’s core committee meet held in Mumbai concluded, party leader Nawab Malik said that they will wait for their Maha-aghadi ally to take their decision on supporting the Shiv Sena in a meeting to be held with senior Maharashtra Congress leaders at 4 pm in Delhi.
With the Congress meeting underway in Delhi to discuss the situation in Maharashtra, a party source told CNN-News18 that state leaders Milind Deora and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan are in support of an alliance with the Shiv Sena. Sources said that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has emerged as the frontrunner for the post of the chief minister. It was also reported there is a possibility of two deputy chief ministers – one from NCP and one from Congress.
Shiv Sena will hand over a letter of support to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari at 2.30 pm. During the meeting, Shiv Sena delegation, to be led by Eknath Shinde, is likely to seek time to prove majority. Later, a high level meet is scheduled to take place at the Sena Bhavan.
In a press conference held after a meeting of Shiv Sena leaders, Sanjay Raut addressed a press conference where he blamed the BJP for not keeping its word on the 50:50 alliance formula. Holding the BJP responsible for the political crisis in Maharashtra, Raut said the saffron party has insulted people’s mandate by agreeing to sitting in the Opposition rather than following the agreed formula to give the state a stable government. He also hit out at the saffron party for ignoring allies in other states as well.
Sixteen days after the Maharashtra Assembly election results, the unfolding events took another spin as the single-largest party and the major partner of the winning alliance, Bharatiya Janata Party, declared that it was unable to form the government.
The BJP informed Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari of its decision, after the latter had invited the party to show its 'willingness and ability' to form the government in state. Following procedure, Koshyari has now invited the Shiv Sena, the second largest party, to stake claim to power.
Announcing the BJP's decision, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil accused the Uddhav Thackeray-led party, which is adamant on its demand for a rotational chief ministership, of "disrespecting" the popular mandate secured by the BJP and the Sena in the recent Assembly polls.
"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.
He wished "good luck" to the Sena if it wanted to form the government with the help of Opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party.
Sena, meanwhile, has maintained that it will install its chief minister at all costs.
The Congress has so far remained wary of making any concrete comments and is currently holding consultations. Senior NCP leader Nawab Malik said the party will take a decision only after the Sena walks out of the NDA and gives a formal proposal seeking support to form a government.
The Maha story so far
The BJP and the Sena had together won 161 seats in the 288-member House, well above the halfway mark of 145. However, the trouble between the allies started after 24 October when the results were announced. Upon discovering that the BJP (105) could not secure the majority (145) by itself, the Sena asserted its claim over the chief minister's post. Sena claimed that the BJP had promised it an equal share in power before Lok Sabha election, which, it said, meant that notwithstanding its seat share (56), it was entitled to chief minister's post for half the term of the elected Assembly. The BJP, however, denied having agreed to such an arrangement.
The Sena continued its attack on its ally of 30 years, while flirting with Sharad Pawar's NCP. It did not hold talks with BJP even once, while Sena's senior leader Raut visited Pawar twice and dialed up his nephew Ajit Pawar too, as per the latter's claim. Uddhav later accepted to have suspended talks because BJP had outright denied that the parties had ever agreed upon a 50:50 power sharing formula. "We do not do business with those who make it seem like we are liars. Nobody has ever called the Thackeray family a liar," Uddhav had told reporters after Fadnavis' tirade against his party.
Fadnavis had accused Sena of jeopardising the alliance, stating that he was hurt and shocked by Sena's changed demeanour after the elections. On Sena's statement that the mandate was against Fadnavis, the caretaker chief minister subtly highlighted that his party had a better strike rate than Sena.
Fadnavis said BJP’s "strike rate" was better in 2019 than in 2014. "We contested 260 seats in 2014 and won 47 percent seats and 28 percent votes. In 2019, we contested 150 seats. We won 70 percent of seats and 26 percent votes," he said.
Sena, which contested alone in 2014, won 63 out of 282 seats with a strike rate of 22.34 percent. In 2019, it fought on 126 seats and won 56 with a strike rate of 45 percent.
Where do other players stand?
Congress, which had been watching the show from the sidelines for the first time showed signs of the intent for an alliance.
While senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan said his party did not want President's Rule in the state, another party leader Milind Deora hinted at his support for an alliance with Sena by stating that NCP and Congress should try to form the government since the BJP has failed. An 'attempt' such as the one suggested by Deora is mathematically impossible without the Sena's support to the Maha-agadhi alliance.
Sanjay Nirupam was the only voice in Congress who openly opposed an alliance with Sena based on ideological differences. Nirupam said "it seems the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance has broken", and that he would urge his party leadership not to encourage government formation with the Sena's help as it will "not be a stable government" and both the Congress and NCP will suffer.
On its part, the NCP has also taken a cautious route. While on one hand, NCP's national chief Pawar kept insisting that NCP is content to sit in the Opposition, party's state president Nawab Malik dropped ample hints that if Sena was ready to sever all ties with BJP, there may be scope for an alternative arrangement. Congress general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday met the party's newly elected MLAs from Maharashtra, who are staying at a resort in Jaipur, to discuss the political situation in the state while NCP chief Sharad Pawar met some of his party leaders in Mumbai.
A senior Congress leader, on condition of anonymity, said the All India Congress Committee (AICC) has deputed two observers to hold discussions with the MLAs in Jaipur on what stand the party should take in view of the impasse on government formation.
"The Congress has to decide if it wants to stop the BJP in Maharashtra or whether it doesn't care if the BJP is able to form a government. An alternative government can be formed only with Congress' support," he said.
He also said that Congress General Secretary Mallikarjun Kharge held informal talks with the Maharashtra Congress MLAs in Jaipur in the morning.
He also brushed aside suggestions that the governor could invite the Congress-NCP for government formation as the 'second largest' alliance, claiming no such provision existed in the Sarkaraia Commission's recommendations.
In another development, NCP chief Sharad Pawar also held a meeting with some of his party leaders in Mumbai. Refusing to speak on a "non-BJP alliance", Pawar said he would react only to Congress' official statement.
"I cannot go by news reports about the decision of the Congress. I will react only when the Congress officially informs me about its decision," Pawar told reporters.
With inputs from agencies