Even after a meeting between Devendra Fadnavis and BJP chief Amit Shah, the BJP has not issued any response about government formation. You will hardly find any speakers going and representing BJP on News Channels. There was no word on how the BJP would go about it or on any negotiation with Shiv Sena. The deadline for government formation in the state is fast approaching – the term of the Maharashtra assembly ends on November 9. The BJP-Shiv Sena’s combined tally in the 288-seat Maharashtra assembly stands at 161.
Vishwas Pathak BJP spokesperson said, “I think the presidential rule situation would not happen because it is all-theoretical and or you can say hypothetical discussion. This situation won’t arrive because the mandate is given by public to form a government jointly, and both the parties cannot disrespect that. Otherwise, they have to pay a higher price and they will lose their credibility.”
Meanwhile, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is set against any dealing with the Shiv Sena, even though her party leaders in Maharashtra and ally Sharad Pawar are said to be amenable to an arrangement to keep the BJP out of power. Whereas Shiv Sena believes that the Chief Minister of Maharashtra will be from the Sena, its leader Sanjay Raut asserted in proof that the ruling BJP and its long-time ally are no closer to an understanding that will unlock the process of government formation nearly two weeks after the election.
Sanjay Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP of the Sena told Afternoon Voice that, “The face and politics of Maharashtra is changing, you will see. What you call hungama (commotion) is not hungama but the fight for justice and rights… victory will be ours and the Chief Minister will be from Shiv Sena only.” He added that the decision on Maharashtra will be taken in the state, a reference to meetings in Delhi that drew much attention – one between Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP and his party chief Amit Shah and the other between Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
When Afternoon Voice asked Chief Spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party, Madhav Bhandari about the presidential rule in Maharashtra he said, “We won’t comment about this matter.”
Pre-poll allies BJP and Shiv Sena won a clear majority together, with 161 seats in the 288-member assembly, but are feuding over how to share power. The Sena is insisting on a “50:50” deal in which a chief minister from each party will have half the five-year term. The Sena’s attempt to leverage support from other sources – like independents, the NCP and Congress – has faltered with Sonia Gandhi reportedly turning down any arrangement with the Sena. The BJP, which won 105 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly, says it has the support of 115 MLAs. The Shiv Sena won 56 but says it has the support of 63 along with independents. The opposition NCP, Congress and others have 102 seats. If there is no compromise before the term of the assembly expires, the state may head towards President’s Rule. In an unforeseen turn of events, senior BJP leader from Maharashtra, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, may emerge as peacemaker between the Shiv Sena and the BJP.
Farmers’ rights activist-turned-Shiv Sena leader Kishore Tiwari had urged Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – the BJP’s ideological mentor – to intervene “in the interest of Hindutva” and even suggested Nitin Gadkari should step in for a resolution. “We have demanded that the Bharatiya Janata Party should deploy its senior leader and Minister Nitin Gadkari for the negotiations with Sena. We are confident that he will not just honour ‘alliance dharma’ but resolve matter in a couple of hours with dialogue,” Tiwari told media. But there has been no response from the RSS yet.