New Delhi: With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the single largest party in Maharashtra Assembly, opting out of the race of government formation on Sunday, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited Shiv Sena, the second-largest party in the state, to indicate its willingness to form the government.
"The Sena will have to inform the governor about its stand by Monday (November 11) evening 7.30 pm," a statement from the Raj Bhavan said after the BJP refused to stake claim as the majority mark of 145 in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly was too far for it.
Sources close told Zee News that an agreement has been finalised between the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) during talks held between Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar. Uddhav will meet the Governor on Monday and stake claim to form the government with the support of NCP. The Congress will give support to the Shiv Sena-NCP government from outside, said a source.
It added that as per the backchannel discussions held between Shiv Sena and NCP-Congress, Uddhav is most likely to sit on the chief ministerial post. NCP leader Ajit Pawar will be the deputy chief minister whereas Congress leader Jayant Patil is most likely to get Home Ministry. In addition, the Congress is expected to get the post of Assembly Speaker in Maharashtra.
The source further added that as per the discussion held between the two leaders, Arvind Sawant, the lone Shiv Sena minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet is most likely to tender his resignation any moment.
Reacting to the development, NCP leader Nawab Malik said that Shiv Sena will have to break all ties with BJP if it wants the support of NCP for government formation in Maharashtra. "We have called a meeting of our MLAs on November 12. If Shiv Sena wants our support, they will have to declare that they have no relation with BJP and they should pull out from National Democratic Alliance (NDA). All their ministers will have to resign from Union Cabinet," Malik said.
Elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly were held on October 21 and the results were declared on October 24. However, despite the passage of 15 days, no single party or alliance came forward to form the government.
In the 288-member assembly, BJP and Sena, which contested as allies under 'Mahayuti' won 105 and 56 seats respectively, sufficient enough to form a coalition government in the state. However, the state was caught in an impasse after the saffron allies got locked in a bitter tussle over the chief minister's post. The Shiv Sena's demand to share the post of chief minister for half the term under the 50:50 formula was turned down by BJP.
On November 8, Fadnavis submitted his resignation to the Governor, claiming that despite several attempts being made by BJP to reach out to Shiv Sena for talks, no response came from Uddhav.
The nearly three-decade-old alliance between BJP and Shiv Sena hit the rough patch after both Fadnavis and Uddhav engaged in a blame game and accused each other of betraying the mandate.