Pawar says NCP-Cong will sit in Opp, Sena reiterates no rest till party gets CM chair
The BJP on Wednesday said that its delegation would meet Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday as the buck stopped with the single largest party after the NCP-Congress alliance put the onus on the saffron alliance partners to form the next Government in Maharashtra.
After having kept on repeating since Tuesday that the media would “get to hear good news anytime from now”, senior State BJP leader and Finance Minister in the outgoing Government Sudhir Mungantiwar finally said that BJP president Chandrakant Patil and he would meet the Governor, on behalf of outgoing Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, on Thursday and brief him about the current political situation in the State.
“You will get to hear good news any time. ‘Mahayuti’ (BJP, Shiv Sena and allies) will form the Government. There is no need for people in Maharashtra to get worried. If a Government is formed it is going to be that of ‘Mahayuti’, whoever wants to think otherwise,” he said.
Interestingly, Mungantiwar’s statement that the BJP would provide “information” can in no way be construed that at its Thursday’s meeting with the Governor, the party will stake claim for forming a new Government.
Leave alone getting letter of support from the Shiv Sena that has a strength of 56 MLAs and enjoys the support of another six to seven MLAs, the BJP, which has 105 MLAs of its own and claims to enjoy the support of another 15 independent MLAs, is still short of 25 MLAs to stake a claim for forming the Government. At its Thursday’s meeting with the Governor, the BJP will in all likelihood be exploring the possibility of getting an invite from Raj Bhavan to form a new Government in the State.
Despite Mungatiwar’s claim, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said there is no change in his party’s stand on sharing the Chief Minister’s post on a rotational basis nor had the Sena received any power-sharing proposal from its senior saffron ally.
“Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will not rest till its Government is formed with its man as the Chief Minister. When Mungantiwar talks about the good news that the people will get to hear anytime, it may be that he will come out with the good news that Shiv Sena’s man will become the next Chief Minister,” Raut said.
Raut, who had earlier in the morning said that it was the responsibility of the BJP to form the Government, said: “Being the single largest party, the BJP should stake claim, form the Government and give a good Government to the State. As far as the BJP delegation meeting the Governor is concerned, it is duty of all political parties to meet the Governor. The people in Maharashtra will be happy if the BJP meets the Governor and submits to him its list of 145 MLAs required for a simple majority of the State”.
The day began with Raut meeting NCP chief Sharad Pawar at the latter’s “Silver Oak” residence in south Mumbai. Raut met Pawar before the latter was to address a news conference, sparking speculation on what must have transpired at the meeting.
Emerging from his meeting with Pawar, Raut said: “I had paid a courtesy call on Pawar. We discussed politics. Pawar is concerned about the current situation in the State. He is of the firm stand that the Congress and NCP have been given a mandate by the people to sit in the Opposition”.
Later, addressing a news conference, Pawar said: “There is not much to talk about the current political situation in the State. The people have given us (Congress and NCP) to work as a strong Opposition in the new Assembly. The people have given a mandate to the BJP and the Shiv Sena to form a Government in the State”.
Queried if the stand of the Congress-NCP alliance – which has indicated that it would support the Shiv Sena to form a Government – would change its stand in future, Pawar said: “The mandate given to us by the people is for sitting in the Opposition. Together, the strength of the NCP and Congress does not cross 100. We are nowhere near a majority,” Pawar said.
Asked as to why Raut met him, Pawar said: “Being Rajya Sabha members, Raut and I regularly meet. He came to meet me to discuss things relating to forthcoming Winter Session of Parliament”.
Asked about his meeting with AICC president Sonia Gandhi earlier on the emerging political situation in the State and the late stand of the two parties on the Government formation in the State, Pawar said: “We want the two parties (BJP and Shiv Sena) to form the Government….I have been assessing the situation. The Congress is holding internal discussions on the issue. If need be, I will talk to her (Sonia Gandhi) and go and meet her. Let’s see what happens in the next two to three days”.
In effect, the Congress-NCP alliance is keeping its options open in the issue of extending support to the Shiv Sena to form a Government in the State.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said that people had not given mandate in favour of the BJP and that the people favoured a non-BJP Government in the State.
“The people have not given a mandate to the BJP. That being the case people do not want the BJP to come back to power in the State. “The alternative can come only after the Shiv Sena decides not to go with the BJP. It all depends on what decision the Shiv Sena takes. The fact remains that people do not want a BJP Government in the State,” Chavan said, when asked if the Congress-NCP alliance would extend support to the Shiv Sena.
In a related development, Congress’ Rajya Sabha member Hussain Dalwai – who had in a letter to AICC president Sonia Gandhi requested her to extend party’s support to the Shiv Sena to keep the BJP out of power in the State – met Shiv Sena spokesperson at the office of the Saamana newspaper.
Talking to mediapersons after his meeting with Raut, Dalwai reiterated that if the proposal came from the Shiv Sena seeking its support, the Congress should extend its support to the Sena in forming a Government in the State. “There is a huge difference between the Shiv Sena and the BJP. The Sena has now become a party with inclusive agenda. There is nothing wrong if the Congress extends its support to the Shiv Sena. When Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil contested the presidential elections, the Shiv Sena had extended support to them”.
Thursday, 07 November 2019 | TN Raghunatha | Mumbai
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