While the situation thrown up by a hung Assembly was sorted out quickly in Haryana, Maharashtra is still struggling to find its next government. A day after Diwali, the struggle for power in Maharashtra intensified, with a delegation from the Shiv Sena and then one from the BJP met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari separately in the morning. Battlelines are being drawn more clearly between these NDA allies in the state, the separate delegations suggest.
On Monday morning, Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote rushed to meet the Maharashtra governor to state its position in the issue of formation of the next state government. After the meeting, he gave a statement that he had met the governor only to greet him for Diwali, which, of course, had passed a day before. Raote then said he had been visiting the governor since 1993. “There has been no political discussion in this meeting,” he said.
Shortly after the meeting with the Shiv Sena leader, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reached Raj Bhavan. Fadnavis met Governor Koshyari.
Maharashtra is witnessing a tug of war between the Shiv Sena and the BJP over the post of chief minister. Shiv Sena is seeking not only a 50% representation in the Cabinet but also the post of chief minister for their dynast Aaditya Thackeray. The BJP, meanwhile, has decided not to react to the demand publicly until its Legislative Party meeting on 30 October.
The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra have got a majority in Maharashtra. In the election for the 288-seat strong Assembly, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance got 161 seats while the Congress-NCP and its other allies won 117 seats. The Shiv Sena has been adamant on the “50-50 formula” since the election result.
Due to their ideological incompatibility with the BJP, the Congress and NCP are reportedly wooing the Shiv Sena for a switchover. However, Sharad Pawar and MLAs of the NCP have officially said they would be an opposition party rather than try to form a government. If the NCP sticks to that stand, the Shiv Sena will have no option left but to stay in the alliance with the BJP.
In the meantime, two rebels from the BJP who had contested in the election as independents, and another independent MLA who had defeated the Shiv Sena candidate in the poll have extended their support to the leadership of Fadnavis. Rebels Geeta Jain and Rajendra Raut announced their support for the BJP after meeting the chief minister at his residence on Sunday. Ravi Rana, also an independent MLA, has written a letter extending his support to a BJP-led government.
At the same time, Achalpur MLA Bachchu Kadu and his colleague Rajkumar Patel from Melghat, both from the Amravati district in the Vidarbha region, offered support to the Shiv Sena. Kadu heads the Prahar Janshakti Party (PJP).