Updated: November 8, 2019 2:48:14 am
A BJP delegation met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday to brief him about the ongoing political developments but with ally Shiv Sena not letting up on its demand for equal share of the chief minister’s post, it stopped short of staking a formal claim to from the government.
In the absence of support from Sena, BJP appears to be exercising caution, though it is the single largest party with 105 MLAs in the 288-member Assembly.
While Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis remained at his official residence Varsha in Mumbai all day, meeting party MLAs and other leaders, a group of BJP leaders led by state party chief Chandrakant Patil met the Governor at Raj Bhavan.
“We met the Governor to brief him about the political developments since the formation of government was taking longer than normal. Various legal and constitutional implications were discussed. We informed the Governor that the Assembly election results showed people have given mandate for the formation of a BJP-Sena government. The verdict was for mahayuti (BJP-led grand alliance),” Patil told mediapersons after emerging from a 20-meeting with Koshyari.
Shortly after the BJP leaders left Raj Bhavan, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni met Koshyari. “The Governor is consulting legal and constitutional experts,” said a source.
After Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, at a meeting with party MLAs on Thursday, made it clear that he would not relent from the demand for the CM’s post, the BJP was considering all options, said sources.
Throughout the day, Fadnavis and senior party leaders explored the options before the party and also held consultations with legal and constitutional experts on implications if the government was not formed before November 9 — when the current Assembly’s term expires. BJP has asked its MLAs to reach Mumbai by Friday.
A party leader said: “Our stand is clear. We want to form the government with Sena to give a stable government. However, there is no question of negotiating on Fadnavis holding the CM’s post for the entire five-year tenure.”
At present, with the support of 15 Independent MLAs, BJP can reach the figure of 120 members. It still needs 25 more to reach the magic figure of 145.
Party insiders said BJP is mulling two options. The first is to form a BJP-Sena government through compromise and the second, Fadnavis runs a caretaker government for the next 15 days if the deadlock continues. In the event that no government is formed, President’s Rule would follow.
A senior BJP minister said, “Although forming a minority government is not impossible, we are not in hurry to experiment.” Sources said that BJP also believes if the government is not formed, the onus will be on Sena to explain to the people why it failed to honour their mandate.
Party leaders said BJP was ready to concede the deputy CM’s post to Sena, along with 15 ministerial berths in the Cabinet. It was also ready to make Uddhav the head of a coordinating committee of BJP-Sena ministers. “But Sena insisting on the CM chair is the problem,” said a leader.
‘Sambhaji Bhide came to Matoshree with BJP’s message’
The Shiv Sena said Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide had come to Matoshree, the residence of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, on Thursday with a message from the BJP to negotiate on government formation talks.
“He had come with a message from the BJP to negotiate. If he wants to tell something, then he should tell it to BJP and not us. Why should we compromise every time? So, we told him to go to BJP and tell them something,” a senior Sena leader said, adding that he could not meet Uddhav.
Bhide, who heads Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, is close to RSS and is an accused in the Bhima Koregoan violence case.
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