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Tuesday 28 January 2020

Maharashtra: Everybody, nobody ready to form govt

In Maharashtra, BJP will not talk if asked to remove Fadnavis; Sena, NCP and INC with about half as many seats each are making all the noises

Whose Government in Maharashtra? This is one question, the answer to which has been elusive since the results of the Assembly election on 24 October. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited BJP to form the government on Saturday evening and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis called a meeting of party leaders. It is being said that the meeting over the governor’s proposal was discussed in this meeting.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has said that if no one is ready to form the government, his can take charge of it. The Shiv Sena has called a party meeting, too. Aaditya Thackeray will take part in it.

Congress leader Milind Deora has appealed to the governor to invite Congress-NCP to form the government. In a tweet on Sunday, he wrote, “Maharashtra’s Governor should invite NCP-Congress – the second largest alliance – to form the government now that BJP-Shivsena have refused to do so.”

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Earlier, Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece Saamana on Sunday once again praised NCP chief Sharad Pawar, indicating it is trying to draw close to NCP-Congress. On the face of it, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that the role of “elderly” Sharad Pawar (in forming the government) will prove to be crucial. He said that many Congress MLAs met with Sonia Gandhi and advised her to hand over the decision of Maharashtra to politicians of the State. He said that Congress is “not an enemy” of Maharashtra. “All parties otherwise have differences on certain issues,” Raut said.

Raut claimed that the people of Maharashtra were saying in one voice they would not like to see a BJP chief minister again. At his press conference on Sunday, Raut took a dig at the BJP over the CBI action on NCP leaders, saying that the party that has ruled by scaring others for five years is itself scared today. It is not getting support even through intimidation. He said, “When this happens, one thing must be believed that Hitler has died and the era of slavery is gone.”

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The editorial of Saamana said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had blessed Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that he would again retain his post in the state but, even after 15 days, he could not take the oath. Raut said that Shiv Sena was not ready to talk to Fadnavis and “that is BJP’s biggest defeat”. He said that the BJP, being the largest party in the election, should have submitted its claim to form the government within 24 hours of the result being declared but even after 15 days it did not do so.

The Maharashtra Assembly election was fought between the Mahayutis (grand alliances) of BJP-Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP against each other. Voting was held on 21 October and votes were counted on 24 October. In the election, BJP won 105 seats, Shiv Sena won 56 seats, NCP 54 and Congress 44 seats.

After the election results, there was a dispute between the BJP and Shiv Sena over the chief minister’s post and the share of power. Because of this, no one claimed to form the government, as no party on its own had 145 MLAs. But the confidence the Sena is trying to display for public consumption with a mere 56 seats in its kitty is amusing.

Given that the BJP has refused to talk to the Sena if the latter is adamant on not continuing with Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister, it means while every party is claiming to be capable enough of forming the next Maharashtra government, none is practically in a position to do so.

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