Almost 2 weeks after the Maharashtra Assembly results were declared on October 24, the formation of the next government in the state has been stuck over the rotation of the chief minister’s post all this while. The Shiv Sena says the BJP agreed upon rotating the post, the BJP reads the 50:50 formula as something that applies to everything else but the CM’s chair. Many leaders have been met, many others have suddenly zoomed into significance, including the Nationalist Congress Party stalwart Sharad Pawar, who is certainly not caught in the hype.
The delay in taking charge has left a very short time for the BJP and the Shiv Sena to patch up and take the seat of power. The outgoing Assembly’s term ends on November 9. The new Assembly has to be in before that. This is why the Shiv Sena and the BJP have again been meeting and deputing senior leaders like Nitin Gadkari to intervene and get it ironed out. Union Home Minister Amit Shah is said to be ensuring the party is able to manage the Shiv Sena without looking like it has made too many amends, and looks convincing for the Uddhav Thackeray-led party. For a few hours, there was talk that Gadkari himself would take over the reins in Maharashtra since some Shiv Sena leaders had been playing on the BJP’s loss of seats to an anti-BJP verdict. A thought echoed by Sharad Pawar.
But the distance between Shivaji Park and Baramati is likely to ensure the two Maharashtra parties sit on opposing sides in the Assembly. All talk of an alliance between them is said to have died the moment, Pawar or someone senior in the NCP asked the Shiv Sena to pull its ministers out of the Narendra Modi cabinet.
Earlier, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut had claimed that Shiv Sena had the support of 170 MLAs and the number is perfect to form the government in Maharashtra. Pawar has since asked Raut to list the MLAs he was talking of. The NCP veteran made several visits to Delhi to confer with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Reports also said she had given Pawar a free hand.
She had said this even while rejecting a plan to form the government in the state with the Shiv Sena. Even if the Shiv Sena and the NCP do get together, they would need the Congress to make up for the rest of the numbers. In the house of 288 MLAs, the alliance with 145 seats will command majority.