Union minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that there soon will be a decision on Maharashtra government formation. Gadkari's statement is among several remarks made by senior state leaders, including those from Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party, that have only added to confusion surrounding the process of government formation.
On Thursday, Gadkari said that there soon will be a decision on Maharashtra government formation "under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis". The Union transport minister also categorically refuted speculations by news channels which reported that Gadkari might lead the BJP-Sena alliance in the state. "No question of me returning to Maharashtra. I will continue to work in Delhi." On reports claiming RSS is involved in backdoor negotiations over government formation in the state, Gadkari said that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat shouldn't be linked to the government formation moves in Maharashtra. Speaking to reporters, Gadkari also ruled out his returning to the state to assume the top job.
"Devendra Fadnavis will head the new government," he said, adding a decision will be taken soon to resolve the impasse over government formation in his home state. "It won't be appropriate to link the RSS chief to the goings on (over government formation)," he said.
Gadkari's statement adds very little to what has been claimed in public before, even as some media reports seemed to suggest that his entry into the picture would help to end the crisis. Till Wednesday, news channels reported various scenarios unfolding, with "sources" claiming a resolution to the BJP-Shiv Sena stalemate is expected and a new dispensation may take office before the term of the outgoing Assembly ends on 9 November. The term for the current Maharashtra government ends on 8 November.
According to PTI, sources from both parties said that back-channel talks are on between the two old but often-feuding Hindutva allies and a breakthrough is expected. "We expect a breakthrough. If all goes well we can have a government by 9 November," a source, who did not wish to be identified, told PTI.
According to a legislature secretariat official, if no party comes forward to stake claim to form the government, then Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari will have to invite the leader of the single-largest party. If a government still isn't formed, Koshyari will then have to call on the leader of the second-largest party. If all these options fail, then the governor will have to recommend President's Rule.
Amid the impasse over government formation, farm activist Kishore Tiwari, who joined the Shiv Sena ahead of the Assembly polls, recently said that Bhagwat should depute Gadkari to resolve the power tussle between the BJP and the Sena.
Tiwari said the RSS chief should take a serious note of the situation and intervene to end the deadlock over government formation in Maharashtra. He said people were worried over the RSS's "silence" on the issue.
"Gadkari will be able to resolve the situation within two hours," Tiwari had said, when asked about his letter to Bhagwat.
Sena digs in its heels
Over two weeks after the results of the Maharashtra elections were announced, the Shiv Sena has remained adamant on getting the chief minister's post for two-and-a-half-years out of the five-year term. Party supremo Uddhav Thackeray said, "We will hold discussions with BJP provided they agree to what was decided during the Lok Sabha polls. They can call me up if they decide to give us the chief minister’s post for 2.5 years, otherwise they shouldn't call me up."
Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut also accused the BJP of delaying the process of government formation in Maharashtra and creating a situation for the imposition of President's rule. Addressing a press conference, Raut said the BJP should declare that it is unable to form the government and then the Shiv Sena will take further steps.
Reiterating the Shiv Sena's demand for sharing the chief minister's post, he said the state's chief minister will be from the Thackeray-led party only.
"You will know on the floor of the House. We have the numbers," he claimed.
Significantly, this was the first election in which a member of the Thackeray family, 29-year-old Aaditya Thackeray, entered electoral politics. Following Aaditya's win from Worli, posters supporting him for the chief minister's post have come up near Matoshree, Thackeray's residence. With Aaditya in fray, there is another reason for the Shiv Sena to take a hard stance with respect to its saffron ally.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Nov 07, 2019 17:14:33 IST