BJP makes last-ditch effort; too late: Shiv Sena

Updated: Nov 22, 2019, 07:23 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Sena camp says BJP was willing to share CM's office, even ready to give the Thackerays the first 30 months, but they refused it

Senior NCP and Congress leaders during a meeting at Sharad Pawar's Delhi home. Pic /PTI
Senior NCP and Congress leaders during a meeting at Sharad Pawar's Delhi home. Pic /PTI

Even as the BJP was learnt to have made a last-ditch attempt at getting the Shiv Sena to bury the hatchet on Thursday, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said that they have reached a consensus over the final terms with the Sena.

The two parties will confer with Sena leaders in Mumbai on Friday for a power-distribution formula and common minimum programme.

Sources in the Sena camp said that the BJP was willing to let their party share the CM's office, even in the first two and a half years. "But it's too late. Our leadership hasn't accepted the offer," said a leader who is close to the party leadership.

When asked, a top BJP leader dismissed the information precipitated from the Sena camp as baseless and false. Sena has asked its flock to get together in Mumbai on Friday for a meeting with party chief Uddhav Thackeray. The MLAs have been asked to carry IDs such as Aadhar and PAN cards and clothes for at least five days. The legislators might be shifted to a safe place outside Maharashtra.

There is mounting pressure within the Sena that Uddhav Thackeray dons the mantle instead of asking any other leader to be in the saddle. Leader of Sena's legislative party Eknath Shinde is said to be a hot favourite for the CM nominee, followed by veteran Subhash Desai.

Stamp of approval

In the national Capital on Thursday, the parties which ruled the state for 15 years between 1999 and 2014 decided to share the decisions taken by them over the last two days with their smaller allies on Friday.

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and others during the NCP-Congress meeting on government formation in Maharashtra, at Pawar’s residence in New Delhi. PIC/PTINationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and others during the NCP-Congress meeting on government formation in Maharashtra, at Pawar’s residence in New Delhi. Pic/PTI

Congress will also elect its legislative party leader on Friday by seeking the 44 MLAs' opinion. The leader, thus selected, is tipped to be the party's candidate for the deputy CM's office, which the Congress has demanded. Congress insiders said a skeleton proposal for sharing formula has been put in place. With Sena assured of getting the CMO — but not very sure whether it would keep it till the coalition runs — the NCP is also expected to get a DCM.

However, the issue of sharing the CMO between the Sena and NCP might also come up before the final arrangement is made.

Ex-CM Prithviraj Chavan told mediapersons in New Delhi that there was complete unanimity between the Congress and NCP on all issues related to government formation in Maharashtra. "After discussions are completed and agreed upon, the media will be briefed on the architecture of the alliance in Mumbai," he said, adding, "An announcement will happen only after meeting with the Shiv Sena tomorrow."

Chavan said that when the alliance partners, which will include the Sena, announce their common minimum programme, the power-sharing formula among the three parties will also be disclosed.

Under Sena or not?

Once terms get settled, the three parties will approach Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for staking claim to form the government. Whether they go to the Raj Bhavan under the leadership of Sena or go separately to indicate the formation of a post-election coalition remains to be seen. The Governor has asked for letters from each MLA duly signed by the elected member of the house and the authorised signatories from three constituents.

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