State's game of thrones reaches climax: Shiv Sena all set to claim throne

Updated: Nov 06, 2019, 11:31 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

As BJP climbs down and offers 50% of cabinet posts, unrelenting Sena puts in place all ingredients of a khichdi government

Aaditya Thackeray
Aaditya Thackeray

A top Shiv Sena leader late on Tuesday night told mid-day that his party has cobbled together the numbers required to unseat ally BJP from power, with the help of the NCP and Congress. The source said the Sena will get the CM's post, the NCP deputy CM in the government and the Congress will get speaker, in return for outside support. Also on Tuesday night, CM Devendra Fadnavis met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur to discuss the crisis.

Eearlier in the day, the BJP had put the ball in the Sena's court, telling its ally to come up with a formal proposal to join government. The BJP's state leadership is learnt to have offered the Sena an equal share in the council of ministers if the latter gave up its claim on CM's post.

While a section of the BJP said the party may go ahead with a swearing-in ceremony with or without the Sena, the party's core committee was confident of reaching an agreement in a day or two before the current Assembly is dissolved on November 9.

Uddhav ThackerayUddhav Thackeray

With the Sena claiming it has the numbers, it remains to be seen whether the BJP will move at all to form the government.

Has Pawar pounced?

The impasse of the last 11 days indicated that the Sena was always seriously considering ditching the BJP if its primary demand was not met. This became clearer on Tuesday, with the Sena being coy to the BJP's increased offer of 21 cabinet berths.

Sharad PawarSharad Pawar

Hinting on Tuesday night that it has the numbers is just a confirmation that it has no qualms about severing ties with the BJP, quitting the Union cabinet and forming a non-BJP axis. Uddhav, who visited the late Gopinath Munde's memorial in Marathwada on Tuesday after meeting rain-hit farmers, also hinted that something was cooking by not answering questions on the BJP's offer. He is expected to meet his senior party leaders today.

While Fadnavis reached Nagpur in the night, his party leaders had made all the right noises through the day, all of them saying they stood behind him. "The BJP, Sena and other allies will form government under Fadnavis's leadership very soon," said BJP state president Chandrakant Patil earlier in the day. His name had done the rounds for the top job as a compromise candidate, along with Sudhir Mungantiwar.

Devendra FadnavisDevendra Fadnavis

A confident Mungantiwar had even told reporters earlier on Tuesday: "We will share some good news soon. Just wait."

Senior BJP leader Vinod Tawde met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. This was followed by NCP leaders' visit to the Raj Bhavan.

Koshyari will be the man to watch out for in the next two days, as the crisis is expected to worsen. If the Sena breaks up with the BJP, he will have to call the single largest party to first form government (BJP, with 105 of its own MLAs).

PoliticsA delegation of Congress and NCP leaders, including Jayant Patil, Nawab Malik, Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal, Dhananjay Munde and Congress state chief Balasaheb Thorat speak to the media after meeting the governor at his residence on Tuesday. Pic/ Ashish Raje

If the BJP either does not take up the invite, or it forms government and fails the floor test, Koshyari will have to call the second largest party (Sena, 56). The NCP is the third largest party with 54 MLAs.

While how Koshyari interprets the Constitution remains important, it looks like Sharad Pawar could emerge the kingmaker.

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