Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Sunday asked the Shiv Sena if it wants to form government after the BJP informed him that it does not have numbers. The Shiv Sena has been given time till 7.30 pm on Monday to express its “willingness and ability” to form government.
The Governor’s office sent the letter to Shiv Sena’s Legislative Party leader Eknath Shinde. “The Sena will have to inform the Governor about its stand by Monday 7.30 pm,” a Raj Bhavan official said.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that party chief Uddhav Thackeray will announce the decision and said, “The next CM will be from the Shiv Sena. We are confident that we will prove our majority in the Assembly. If Uddhavji is saying that Chief Minister will be from Shiv Sena, it means that the Sena will have its Chief Minister at any cost.” He refused to explain which parties will support the Sena as it has only 56 MLAs in the 288-member House.
Earlier in the day, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis held the party’s core committee meeting twice at his official residence, Varsha, in South Mumbai. BJP national general secretary and Maharashtra incha-rge Bhupendra Yadav atte-nded the meeting along with senior party leaders Sudhir Mungantiwar, Chandrakant Patil and Girish Mahajan.
Sources said BJP chief Amit Shah joined the second round of meetings from New Delhi via video conference.
Following the meeting, a delegation led by Mr Fadnavis met Governor Koshyari at Raj Bhavan. The Governor on Saturday had invited the BJP, the single largest party, to stake claim.
After meeting the Governor, the state BJP president told the media outside Raj Bhavan, “The Governor had invited the BJP yesterday (Saturday) to form the new government in Maharashtra. We have fought the election as a Mahayuti. The mandate was given to the Mahayuti. However, Shiv Sena is not interested to come with us. Therefore, we can’t form the government now. This has been conveyed to the Governor.”
He said, “If the Sena wants to form the government with support from the Congress and NCP, by disrespecting the mandate, we extend good wishes to them.”
Mr Raut taunted the BJP over its inability to form government. “If they (BJP) did not form the government, how would it have its CM. They have repeatedly said that the CM will be from the BJP and they would form government under the leadership of the BJP. Now, they have withdrawn their claim,” he said.
While the Congress refused to open its cards, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of Mr Sharad Pawar made it clear that the Sena would have to break away from the NDA before it can think of lending support to Mr Thackeray’s party.
Congress leader Ashok Chavan said the state unit would seek the advice of the party high-command on its political stand....