Shiv Sena to meet for 'final call' today, BJP to meet governor

Updated: Nov 07, 2019, 12:07 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

As impasse over government formation entered another day, the Sena’ room for manoeuvring shrunk further, even as all permutations remain on the table.

Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray
Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena’s machinations to form a khichdi government got a mild jolt on Wednesday, but the party’s soaring ambitions were not scuttled fully, with the NCP and Congress saying they are still in a wait-and-watch mode.

WHILE the BJP is still prepared for – and expected –a positive response from the Sena, it readied itself to meet the governor on Thursday to apprise him of the crisis. NCP President Sharad Pawar on Wednesday kept all stakeholders guessing when he said the BJP and Sena are capable of turning the situation around in the eleventh hour and he was keenly observing developments. 

Does BJP have numbers?

Stressing that the Sena will install the next CM, Sanjay Raut questioned the BJP’s plan to meet the governor. He said any party forming the government needs to have 145 MLAs, raising questions whether the BJP had the adequate number.

He said his party hadn’t received any proposal from the BJP. But finance minister Sudhir Munganttiwar said his party had forwarded Sena a comprehensive proposal. The minister said he and state BJP president Chandrakant Patil will be representing CM Fadnavis at the Raj Bhavan.

JaywantNCP Chief Sharad Pawar at a press conference along with Jaywant Patil, Hemant Takle and Sunil Thatkare at the YB Chavan Auditorium on Wednesday. Pic/ Suresh Karkera

Defusing tensions

Earlier in the day, the BJP and Sena camps seemed to have scaled down tensions, with cabinet members from both parties met under the leadership of CM Devendra Fadnavis to review the wet drought crisis.

Later, a few Sena ministers discussed the party’s demand with the CM. Negotiations through other channels were also being held between the two parties, with the Sena not willing to give up on its demand for the CM’s post though the BJP has agreed to part with half the portfolios in the council of ministers. The Sena hasn’t responded officially to the BJP’s offer yet, but it is also running out of options.

The BJP’s central leadership doesn’t seem to want the Sena to get the CM’s post. Following a very important meeting in Delhi, BJP chief Amit Shah and the party’s in-charge of Maharashtra elections Bhupendra Yadav are reported to have given the nod to negotiate with Sena over any of its demands other than a place in the CMO.

Fuelling speculations further, Pawar told a press conference in Mumbai that he was waiting for BJP’s national president Amit Shah to use his skills for forming government when the numbers were adequate.

“People voted for the BJP and Sena to rule the state,” he said. “I expect them to form the government. I will be watching the developments over the next two-three days.”

Day full of meetings

Apart from state-level talks, the leaders from four major parties met in the garb of discussing several issues at various places.

Following Fadnavis’s Tuesday night meeting with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur, speculations of the Congress toning down its aggressive approach were rife in Delhi after party’s senior leader Ahmed Patel conferred with Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who the CM had met two days ago.

Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who is pushing the party’s agenda ahead, met NCP boss Sharad Pawar, who later said the Sena leader hadn’t given him any proposal to support the Sena. But not many believed the two hadn’t talked the current crisis that the Sena alone can compound further or ease.

Raut also met his party boss Uddhav Thackeray. Later, Congress MP Hussain Dalvai met Raut and declared that the opposition parties were unanimous in stalling any potential move to impose President’s rule in the state if government-formation is not possible.

Later in the day, the Congress leaders went into a huddle to discuss a popular sentiment in the party that the BJP should be kept away from power. The Congress has been assured the Speaker’s post by the Sena and NCP in return for outside support. The Congress parties want the Sena to break away from the NDA as a precondition for this to happen. The Sena president met his trusted deputies on Wednesday and has asked the party MLAs to gather in Mumbai for a final call on Thursday.

161
No. of MLAs the saffron alliance has

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