Maharashtra gears up for swearing-in at Wankhede

BJP to elect its CM on October 27, negotiations with Sena to wait

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Published:October 26, 2014 12:44 am

The BJP is likely to begin the process of government formation with a small cabinet not exceeding seven to eight members by the month-end, sources said, adding that the swearing-in of the chief minister and other cabinet members was likely to take place at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on October 29-30.

Highly-placed sources in the BJP told The Indian Express, “On Monday (October 27), central observers including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra J P Nadda will arrive in Mumbai. They will hold a meeting with the elected MLAs to ascertain their views, which will be reported to the party’s central parliamentary board.”

“The swearing-in of the chief minister along with a small team of ministers may take place on October 29 or October 30. A final date is still being worked out with Delhi,” a senior BJP functionary said.

Party sources said the next chief minister would be the current state BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis. The four-term MLA held a meeting with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at “Sangha Headquarters” in Nagpur Friday night.

A senior core committee member of the BJP said a decision on the possible alliances would be taken only after the initial process of government formation is through. “At this moment, we are concerned about electing our leader who will become the CM.”

The BJP, which won 123 out of the total 288 seats in the state, has almost managed to get the support from Independents and smaller parties, taking its total strength to 138 seats. The party will require 145 seats for a vote of confidence and believes there are MLAs willing to help them face the floor test by remaining absent across the party lines, including from Congress and NCP.

“The state BJP is not ruling out alliance with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. On the contrary, it believes an alliance with Sena would be better than seeking the outside support of NCP. However, BJP feels the negotiations on cabinet formation with Sena should be done in the second phase after the swearing-in of the CM,” party sources said.

Officially, Shiv Sena remained tight-lipped on Saturday. According to a Sena functionary, “The PM has invited Sena MPs for dinner on October 26 being held for all NDA allies. But BJP does not appear to be in any mood to let go its hard bargain. So, Sena also will have to weigh all the pros and cons before taking a final decision.”

BJP has indicated it would not consider giving more than 14 out of 42 ministries to the Sena, that too barring top cabinet berths like urban development, finance, home and revenue.

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