Maharashtra power politics: Minutes after Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said any party with the support of 145 MLAs in the 288-member Assembly should form the government, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said voters in Maharashtra exercised their franchise against the BJP in the recently-concluded elections. He made these remarks after meeting Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi at her residence in Delhi, reports said.
Both the leaders discussed the political situation in Maharashtra where the BJP and the Shiv Sena failed to break the deadlock over government formation despite the alliance getting an absolute majority in the polls. The state is witnessing a power tussle between the coalition partners as Uddhav Thackeray’s party wants 50:50 power-sharing formula with a chief minister for half the 5-year-term from both parties. The Shiv Sena is keen that its leader Aaditya Thackeray get to be CM first, he will be the first Thackeray to ascend the post as well as being the first in the family to be elected to the Assembly though the family has been in public life since the 1960s.
Though Pawar reiterated that his party will sit in the opposition, the rift continues to widen between the BJP and the Shiv Sena. The NCP boss had stated earlier that his party will not join hands with the Shiv Sena. After his meeting with Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut last week, reports claimed that something was cooking as the NCP might support the Shiv Sena and its chief ministerial prospects.
After his meeting with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari on Monday, Raut said the Shiv Sena was not responsible for the impasse. Talking to reporters, he said that the side with majority MLAs will form the government. Earlier, Thackeray’s party said that it could form the next government, claiming the support of 170 legislators.
Immediately after the election results were announced on October 24, the Thackeray-led party demanded the rotational chief minister. Raut, who is a senior party leader, categorically stated that no compromise will be made on the CM’s post. The party wanted Aaditya Thackeray to be made the CM who is said to have the support of most of the MLAs. However, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis rejected the demand, resulting in the power tussle well into the first week of November. This comes even as a hung assembly verdict in Haryana was evenly resolved by the BJP with a post-poll understanding with the Jannayak Janta Party of Dushyant Chautala, who has since become the Deputy Chief Minister.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena had so far presented a united front citing their ideological affinity which, they said, would paper over the differences over the CM’s post. But the desire for power seems to be rubbing the ideological link between the two parties the wrong way and could well lead to the snapping of ties. The term of the Maharashtra Assembly ends on November 9 and a new chief minister must be sworn-in before or on November 10.