Maharashtra's independent MLAs await word from BJP

Maharashtra BJP has not made any formal offer so far to the seven Independent MLAs in return for support to the new government, to be sworn in on October 31.

The group of independents had earlier sought a couple of ministerial posts and chairmanship of state-run corporations.

However, with a split among them, their bargaining power seems to have dwindled as BJP has so far not approached them with any offer and neither has the CM-designate Devendra Fadnavis met them.

With 121 members in the 288-member assembly, BJP is banking on the support of the independent MLAs. It has already secured support of Bahujan Vikas Aghadi which has three MLAs.

BJP sources said the party would manage to secure support of the independent MLAs eventually. "The focus now is the swearing-in of BJP ministers. Talks with independents may happen later," a party leader said.

With the NCP extending unconditional support from outside, BJP does not need to move swiftly to get the independents on board.

Ravi Rana, an independent MLA from Badnera, initially led the group of seven independents, but the grouping developed cracks. The other independents in the group are: Vinayak Patil (Ahmadpur), Shirish Chaudhari (Amalner), Mohan Phad (Pathri), Mahesh Landge (Bhosri), Baliram Kshirsagar (Balapur) and Ganpat Gaikwad (Kalyan-east).

Of the other smaller parties, Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh which has one MLA and PWP which has three MLAs have not made their stands clear yet.

BJP does not expect support from the MIM which has two MLAs and SP which has one MLA, nor will it approach them.

RSP, which has one MLA, is a pre-poll ally of BJP and expects a ministerial berth.

Congress has 43, NCP 41 and Shiv Sena 63 MLAs in the new assembly.

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