The BJP on Monday adopted a wait and watch policy after Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari turned down the Shiv Sena’s request to give the party 48 hours more to show Congress-NCP support for its claim to form the government, and instead invited the NCP to form the government.
In a day marked by many twists and turns, senior BJP leaders were in a huddle at Varsha, the official residence of caretaker Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
At the BJP core committee meeting, leaders discussed the political possibilities of NCP-Congress joining hands with Sena despite their ideological differences, and if so, what the BJP’s own role should be as an “aggressive” opposition in the state legislative assembly.
As it became clear that it would not be Sena that would form the government, BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar cancelled a scheduled media interaction.
“Frankly speaking, we have no role to play at this moment. We have made it clear that BJP cannot form the government. Our stand from the very beginning was to honour the pre-poll pact Mahauti for which we sought the mandate from the people. After Sena’s adamant stand to distance from BJP, the option of Mahauti government came to a standstill,” said a top BJP source.
BJP insiders indicated that if Congress-NCP-Sena fail to provide an alternate government, there would be no more options left but for President’s rule in Maharshtra for the next six months. Even after that, if any party with 145 seats, the halfway mark in the Assembly, staked claim to form the government, it would be a breakthrough, but in the absence of this, there would be mid-term elections.
The Shiv Sena’s decision to withdraw from NDA has terribly upset BJP and other Hindutva outfits including RSS.
“The overall mood amongst the BJP cadre is to shun the Sena forever. And rework its politics in Maharashtra. The demand for severing ties with Sena in all local bodies elections and future elections are getting louder in the organisation,” said one source.
Several BJP officials said Sena had only hurt the alliance but adversely undermined its own public image.
A BJP minister remarked that Fadnavis had always been more than willing to accommodate the concerns of the Sena.