A day after finishing as the single largest group in a hung Maharashtra Assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party is busy designing strategy for government formation and deciding on the name of next chief minister.
Albeit the BJP has been offered support by the NCP, reports say the party is likely to join hands with its erstwhile ally Shiv Sena.
The BJP Parliamentary Party Board met in New Delhi last evening to discuss chief minister probables for Maharashtra. The party later announced it would send senior leader Rajnath Singh to Maharashtra to take a decision on the chief ministerial candidates. Briefing reporters after the meeting, general secretary JP Nadda said he would accompany Rajnath Singh.
In Maharashtra, the BJP won 122 seats in the 288-member Assembly, falling well short of the 145 seats required for a simple majority. Its ally Rashtriya Samaj Paksha won one.
According to a news agency, government formation in Maharashtra will take place after Diwali, the Hindu festival that falls on Thursday.
The meeting of BJP MLAs in Maharashtra may be held in the next two-three days to elect their leader, who will ultimately become the Chief Minister. BJP’s state president Devendra Fadnavis is the front-runner, the sources added.
Besides Fadnavis, senior state BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, Eknath Khadse is also believed to be in the race for chief minister.
Khadse, who was state irrigation minister during Sena-BJP government in 1995, has been winning his constituency since the past 25 years.
His aspiration for the top job became evident when he said, “North Maharashtra is yet to get a chance to see its representative at the helm. Once the BJP-Shiv Sena comes to power, this demand should be considered.”
Earlier on Sunday, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari rubbished speculations of him being in the race for Chief Minister.