New Delhi: With Maharashtra being put under President's Rule, hectic parleys continued between different contenders for power in the state to try and form the government. A few hours after President's Rule was imposed in the state on Tuesday (November 12, 2019), the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) held a joint press conference where they claimed that they are formally engaging with the Shiv Sena for the first time to ensure a stable government in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray too addressed the media on the political crisis in the state and admitted that since his party and the Congress-NCP combine had different ideologies, the talks between them was taking time. Thackeray as well Congress' Ahmed Patel and NCP chief Sharad Pawar criticised Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for recommending President's Rule in the state and the Centre for imposing the same.
Congress and NCP, as well as Thackeray, admitted that they need more time to arrive at a consensus on government formation as a lot of issues need to be discussed and the timeframe of 24 hours provided by the governor to the second and third largest party in Maharashtra Assembly was not enough.
"Shiv Sena formally started talks with NCP and Congress on November 11. Today, both party leaders discussed Maharashtra political situation and will decide our future course of action after a detailed discussion," NCP leader Praful Patel added.
"Uddhav Thackeray and Sonia Gandhi have spoken, Congress is discussing the situation with NCP," senior party leader Ahmed Patel pointed out during the joint press conference in Mumbai.
A few minutes later, Thackeray confirmed that he approached the Congress and NCP only on Monday and sought time from Governor Koshyari to prove majority. However, the governor refused to extend the deadline resulting in the Shiv Sena failing to form a government in Maharashtra.
"We formally requested Congress-NCP for their support to form the government on November 11. We needed 48 hours, but the governor didn't give us time," he said at the media briefing, also attended by son Aditya Thackeray, who opted to stay tight-lipped on the issues.
On breaking their long-time association with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Uddhav said that under the circumstance, Shiv Sena has to go with Congress-NCP. "We'll hold further talks with both of them. I would like to thank Arvind Sawant, many people have a lust for the ministerial post, but he isn't like that. Proud of him," he stated.
Sawant, the only Shiv Sena minister in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi Cabinet, resigned from his post after the party's fallout with BJP on Monday.
Meanwhile, reacting to a question if the "BJP option is completely finished?", the Sena chief said, "Why are you in such a hurry? It's politics. Six months time has been given (President's Rule). I didn't finish the BJP option, it was BJP itself which did that..."
President's Rule was imposed in Maharashtra on Tuesday evening after the three major parties - BJP, Shiv Sena, and NCP - failed to form a government.
"It's been 15 days and I see no party in condition to form a government," the Governor said in his report to the President after which, the imposition was announced.
The results of Maharashtra Assembly election, in which BJP and Shiv Sena got an absolute majority, were declared on October 24. However, differences between the two allies over power-sharing delayed the formation of a new government in the state. While Shiv Sena insisted on having the post of chief minister for two-and-a-half years, the BJP said there was no such pre-poll agreement between them.
After the BJP rejected the governor's proposal to form a government, the Governor on Sunday asked the Shiv Sena to express its ability to form the government and on Monday, the party sought extra time to give letters of support from the Congress and the NCP.
However, the Governor denied to give more time to the party and then asked the NCP about its willingness to form the government. The declaration of the President's Rule came even as a team of senior Congress reached Mumbai to have talks with the NCP on government formation.