NEW DELHI: The resident King and lasting Maharaja of Maharashtra politics, Devendra Fadnavis and Sharad Pawar, are both in New Delhi today to decide on their next move amid a deadlock over government formation as both the BJP and the Shiv Sena refuse to blink over a power-sharing arrangement.
— गृहमंत्री कार्यालय, HMO India (@HMOIndia) November 4, 2019
The meeting took place at a time when the BJP is said to have actively opened back-channel talks with NCP and simultaneously procured unofficial support of five Independent and 1 MLA from a smaller party.
The Chief Minister’s Office in Maharashtra, however, insisted the meeting was not between a top BJP leader and the BJP President, but between the Chief Minister and the Union Home Minister.
Maharashtra’s government formation has been delayed since results of the Assembly elections came out on October 24. The state could end up under the president’s rule if the government is not formed within November 7.
The Shiv Sena, meanwhile, said that it will not stake claim to form the government but will apprise the governor of its stand during its meeting later in the day. He added that he will urge the governor to invite the single largest party to form the government.
“There are no backdoor discussions. There is a deadlock and we are not responsible for it. BJP being the single largest party should claim to form the government first… but if they fail, we can stake a claim,” Sanjay Raut told reporters on Sunday.
The BJP won 105 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly and the Sena won 56. The alliance is comfortably past the majority mark of 145, but the Sena has held out, demanding an equal “50:50” share in power, including a \Chief Minister from each party by rotation. This, according to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, was discussed with Amit Shah before the national elections in May.
The BJP and Mr Fadnavis have rejected the demand.
All the same, NCP chief Sharad Pawar will head to Delhi and hold talks on lending support to Shiv Sena may also be discussed during a meeting with ally Congress’s chief Sonia Gandhi in the national capital.
Newly elected MLA and Sharad Pawar’s grandson Rohit Pawar praised Bal Thackeray in a post written on his Facebook wall. He said, “Had Balasaheb Thackeray been alive today, would the BJP still be so brave?”
“Maharashtra is blessed with many leaders who have earned the respect of the people. One such leader was honourable Balasaheb Thackeray. There are many reasons why I respect him. One major reason is his stature in national politics. Before elections, BJP promised to share equal power with Shiv Sena. But now BJP is going against its word. This brings us to the question that had Balasaheb Thackeray been alive today would BJP still be so brave?” the Facebook post read.