BJP legislature party leader to be named

Mumbai: Moving ahead with the process of forming a government, newly-elected BJP legislators in Maharashtra will meet here today to elect their leader amid Shiv Sena's expression of desire for a coalition government of the two saffron parties.

The BJP MLAs will gather at party's state headquarters at Nariman Point at 11 AM and then proceed towards the Inox square near Vidhan Bhavan where they will pay tributes to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The BJP legislature party meeting will begin in the Vidhan Bhavan at 4 PM in presence of party's central observers, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and party's national general secretary J P Nadda, a party spokesperson said.

The election of the Legislature Party leader, who will be the Chief Minister, will mark a step towards formation of the government in the state where BJP fell short of a majority by 23 seats in the 288-member Assembly. "After the Legislature Party leader is elected, we will call on Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and stake claim to form government," BJP general secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy had said.

State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis, under whose leadership the party fought the polls and registered its most impressive performance in Maharashtra till date, has emerged as the front-runner for the CM's post. The BJP will hold the swearing-in of a minority government on October 31. Speaking openly for the first time in favour of a BJP-led coalition government, senior Sena leader and spokesman Sanjay Raut had said yesterday that such a dispensation will be a "stable" one.

"If Shiv Sena and BJP come together to form a government it will be stable. Our ties with BJP are very old. Whatever happened during the election we have have forgotten. Ours is not like an India-Pakistan fight. "The people have given mandate to BJP. It has got more seats. It is our duty (to lend support to BJP). Sena's support will always be there for a Chief Minister who works in the interest of Maharashtra," he had said.

BJP won 122 seats in the 288-member Assembly. Govind Rathod, who was elected from Mukhed in Nanded, passed away on Sunday, reducing the strength to 121.

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