Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray warned his allies stating, “No one should take anybody for granted”. Meanwhile, a resolution to the BJP-Shiv Sena stalemate over government formation in Maharashtra is expected and a new dispensation may take office before the term of the outgoing assembly ends on November 9.
Till now, the BJP has put up a brave face and termed the Sena’s stand as posturing and bargaining tactics in an ongoing negotiation for better portfolios, such as finance or revenue, the deputy chief minister’s post, rural development, PWD and finally home department. Earlier all it used to take was a phone call from senior ministers to sort things out, but things have now changed with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the helm.
Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said, “We don’t have a personal grudge against Devendra ji. We have good relations with him. This is a fight of truth and lie, dharma and adharma. This is for the future of Maharashtra. There is no deadlock from Shiv Sena’s side. We have only one key, that is of truth. One must come forward with what was decided.”
Two weeks have flown by since Maharashtra’s voters gave the BJP and Shiv Sena a combined majority, but there’s still no government in sight. It’s been said that their relationship is “on again, off again,” and this fortnight’s events show why. The BJP and the Sena have been fighting over the chief minister’s post (the Sena wants to share it; the BJP doesn’t). And now, a key deadline looms: if a new government isn’t in place by November 9, president’s rule will have to be imposed.
Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar says, “99 per cent” of the Congress’s MLAs did not want a BJP government, and that Sharad Pawar of the NCP was a good option for the chief minister’s post. The NCP and the Congress won fewer seats than the BJP and the Sena in last month’s election, but their tallies 54 and 44 would make them viable coalition partners. He further stated the “marriage” between his party and the Shiv Sena can be discussed after a “divorce” takes place between the Sena and the BJP, whose differences have delayed the formation of a new government in Maharashtra.
Union Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said that there will be a decision soon. “Government in Maharashtra should be formed under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis,”. The Union Minister also denied any mediation by RSS in the issue. “RSS and Mohan Bhagwatji have no connection with this,” he told reporters. He further said, “No question of me returning to Maharashtra, I will continue to work in Delhi,”
Supporting Gadkari’s statement, Sudhir Mungantiwar also dismissed the rumours and said “Nitinji will never come to Maharashtra. It is not even his distant dream to come to Maharashtra as chief minister.”
Meanwhile, Sanjay Raut has also denied that the Sena wants BJP leader and Union minister Nitin Gadkari to be the chief minister instead of Fadnavis. Gadkari himself denied being in running for the CM post and backed Fadnavis for the top job. The Union minister said there was “no question” of him returning to state politics and expressed confidence that the Sena and BJP will reach a deal soon. The tenure of the current Assembly ends in two days and a special three-day session of the House may be convened next week to swear in the new MLAs, said sources. A resolution to the BJP-Sena stalemate over government formation is expected and a new dispensation may take office before the term of the outgoing Assembly ends, they added.
Shiv Sena MLA Abdul Sattar told AV, “The party has unanimously decided that only Shiv Sena leader be made the chief minister, all the party MLAs and 8 independent legislators will remain at Rang Sharda Hotel in Bandra till the government is formed in the state.”
At a meeting in Matoshree, Shiv Sena MLAs have reportedly asked party leader Uddhav Thackeray to be firm on his demand for a rotational CM during negotiations with ally BJP. Negotiations on government formation have dragged on for the 14th day since the election results were announced. Sena leader Sanjay Raut has denied rumours of party MLAs being moved to resorts to thwart alleged poaching by ally BJP, but sources say arrangements are being made to move the MLAs to a five-star hotel in case necessary.