Instead of forming alliances, the party is hoping to woo some MLAs from the NCP, apart from Independents, to make up the numbers it needs to gain an absolute majority in the Assembly; MP Kirit Somaiya claims to have already got the support of 135 MLAs
If one song could describe the mood in the BJP camp yesterday, it would be the Rabindranath Tagore classic ‘Ekla Cholo Re’ (Go it alone). Determined not to let any big party be it the NCP or the Shiv Sena dictate terms to it after its biggest-ever victory in Maharashtra, the BJP was looking at ways to avoid forming a coalition government in the state, and seemed reasonably confident of being able to do so.
BJP leaders and supporters continue the celebrations outside the BJP office yesterday. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Instead of reaching out to the NCP which it feels is corrupt or the Sena which continued to play hard to get the BJP spent most of yesterday trying to see if it could win the support of seven independent MLAs and smaller parties, a top-ranking party official told mid-day.
BJP leaders Devendra Fadnavis, Eknath Khadse and Pankaja Munde with other newly elected MLAs at a party office in the city yesterday
S B Sonavane, the lone MNS MLA from Junnar, is also on the party’s radar and is reported to have expressed his desire to support the BJP-led government, party sources said. “We would rather go it alone than align with a major political group.
We don’t want any political party supporting us with conditions. We are not making any special efforts to get the Shiv Sena’s support. Let the party approach us with a proposal and then we will see,” said a senior BJP leader.
Eating into NCP
The other, more daring, approach, according to party sources, could involve the BJP walking all over the NCP to form a government.
With party MP Kirit Somaiya claiming yesterday that that it already has the support of 135 MLAs and was waiting for the Governor’s invitation to form the government, the BJP would need only another 10-odd legislators to back it something it hopes to achieve by having a section of NCP MLAs aligning with it.
Pointing out that this was not impossible, political analysts say one of the biggest reasons behind the NCP’s unexpected announcement of unconditional support to the BJP on Sunday itself was to stop immediate defections.
“Fearing that the party could see a split, given its bleak immediate political future, the announcement came from none other than Praful Patel, one of Sharad Pawar’s trusted aides,” an analyst pointed out. Pawar himself reiterated the party decision to extend support to the BJP from outside during a meeting with newly elected NCP MLAs yesterday.
When contacted, senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse said efforts were on to provide a stable government that will work for its entire five-year term. He refused to divulge details of the efforts.
Meanwhile, it became clear that the state would not get a new government before Diwali. According to a BJP leader, the newly elected MLAs have been asked to return to their constituencies with the message that they will be summoned when needed.
The possibility of a major party meeting on Tuesday is also remote as there was no communication about Union home minister Rajnath Singh and MP J P Nadda’s Mumbai visit. The central unit of the party is giving priority to forming its government in Haryana, the sources said.
In a significant development, former Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, who was elected as leader of the NCP’s legislative wing, caused a sensation when he said yesterday that the party was approached by a Congress leader with a proposal to support a Shiv Sena-led government to keep the BJP out of power.
He made this revelation while speaking to mediapersons after a meeting at NCP headquarters. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre however denied that any such proposal existed when he was asked to react to Ajit Pawar’s claim.