The episode of Maharashtra Government Formation is taking new intriguing turns day by day and hour by hour. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had the majority of seats in the recently concluded Maharashtra Assembly Election 2019, turned down and decided not to form the government in the state.
Shiv Sena was called by the Governor, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, to form the Government in the state. It was, however, given time period till 7:30 pm on November 11, Monday to prove it’s majority. After it failed to gain support from other parties to prove it’s majority, the Governor, then called Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which has the third highest majority of seats, to form the government. This led to an end to the speculations about Shiv Sena forming the government in Maharashtra.
The Shiv Sena suffered a setback in it’s own efforts to build a non-BJP government in Maharashtra with the Congress at the last moment announcing its decision for holding more talks with the NCP on supporting the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
Sena leader and son of Shiv Sena chief, Aaditya Thackeray, told reporters outside Raj Bhavan on Monday night that his party’s claim on formation of a government still stands, as the two parties have agreed “in-principle” to support the Sena-led government. Meanwhile, he didn’t take names of the Congress and the NCP. Aaditya claimed that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari refused to grant more time to the Sena to cobble up the required numbers.
“We have initiated talks with two parties. Both the parties have expressed their support in-principle to the Sena,” he had said. “We informed the Maharashtra governor about our willingness to stake a claim for government formation. Shiv Sena Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) have already issued their support in written,” he said. He also said that the two parties need few more days to complete their procedures. “Hence we sought time from the governor but he refused to grant it,” he added.
According to reports, the Congress on Monday decided to hold further talks with ally NCP on whether to support the Shiv Sena to form a government in Maharashtra. “The Congress President has spoken to Sharad Pawarji. The party will have further discussions with the NCP,” a statement issued by party general secretary K C Venugopal said.
After two crucial meetings, the top leaders of the party preferred to have detailed discussions with the NCP on the current political stand-off in the state. “The Congress Working Committee met this morning and held a detailed discussion on the situation in Maharashtra after which a consultation was held with Maharashtra Congress leaders,” the statement said.
Observing the political scenario, aligning with the Shiv Sena to form an alternative government in Maharashtra is not likely to be an easy decision for the Congress as the two parties are “not like-minded” or “ideologically aligned”.
Sources said that the Congress party in the past has been reluctant to have any coalition with the Shiv Sena but a change in circumstances, in which BJP has refused to form government in Maharashtra, may evoke a change of stance from the party.
Moreover, Shiv Sena Minister Arvind Sawant has already resigned from the Central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a section of Congress MLAs are keen to be a part of the non-BJP alternative in Maharashtra. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik, on the other side, said that his party has been asked to show numbers.
“We have been called by the Governor, a delegation of our party is meeting him now. We’ve been called to form the govt. As per the letter given by the Governor we’ll hold discussions with Congress and see how a stable government can be provided to the state,” Malik said. “We will get the letter today and make a final decision by tomorrow after holding discussions with our ally Congress,” he added.
However, NCP leader Ajit Pawar along with Chhagan Bhujbal, Jayant Patil and others had gone to meet the Governor at 8:30 on Monday. “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,” said Ajit Pawar. Governor has now given NCP time until 8:30 pm on November 12, Tuesday to indicate its willingness to form the government.
“According to the protocol, the Governor has given us a letter, being the third largest party in Maharashtra. We have suggested to him that we will have to talk with our alliance partner. Time given us up to 8:30 pm tomorrow in the evening,” said NCP leader Jayant Patil. Reports suggest that the Congress party core group meeting to be held on November 12, Tuesday at interim party president Sonia Gandhi’s residence in New Delhi over Maharashtra’s political situation, news agency ANI has reported.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena, long-term allies for around 30 years, won a majority together in the Maharashtra Assembly Polls, last month. The BJP won 105 seats and the Sena 56, which placed them comfortably ahead of the majority mark of 145 in the 288-member assembly. However, the Sena demanded a guarantee, in writing, that it would have the chief minister’s post for half the term and an equal share in ministries. It is called a 50:50 power sharing deal discussed with BJP chief Amit Shah pre-Lok Sabha elections 2019.
Devendra Fadnavis denied any such deal played as a catalyst in Sena making attacks on the BJP becoming more and more vitriolic and the chapter of Maharashtra Political turmoil began. It would be enthralling to see what happens next, whether NCP-Congress would be able to form the Government or no. And if not, then what!