Maharashtra Govt Formation LIVE Updates: Devendra Fadnavis, council of ministers reach governor's house; outgoing CM to address media at 4.30 pm - Live Now 24x7

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Friday, 8 November 2019

Maharashtra Govt Formation LIVE Updates: Devendra Fadnavis, council of ministers reach governor's house; outgoing CM to address media at 4.30 pm

16:29 (IST)

Devendra Fadnavis resigns as Maharashtra CM

Devendra Fadnavis has reportedly resigned as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra during his meeting with the governor. The entire Council of Ministers was also present at the meeting.

The tenure of the current Assembly will end on Friday night as 12 am.

16:20 (IST)

Devendra Fadnavis to hold press briefing at 4.30 pm

Amid a protracted power tussle between alliance partners BJP and Shiv Sena, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to address a press conference regarding the issue at 4.30 pm on Friday, reports said.

Currently, Fadnavis and the council of ministers have reached the Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at the Raj Bhavan. India Today also reported that Fadnavis is speculated to offer his resignation as chief minister, some hours ahead of the dissolution of the current Assembly.

16:08 (IST)

Sena MLAs to be shifted to Madh island resort, reports CNN-News18

Shiv Sena sources have told CNN-News18 that the party MLAs will be shifted to a resort in Mumbai's secluded Madh Island. This comes amid NCP and Congress' allegations that the BJP is trying to poach their MLAs. 

16:03 (IST)

Uddhav Thackeray to meet Shiv Sena MLAs at Bandra hotel tonight

Media reports said that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will meet party MLAs at Bandra's Rangsharda Hotel later today. The party has met three times in the past two days but they have failed to work out a compromise frormula that can help dissolve the impasse between Mahayuti alliance partners. 

15:54 (IST)

'Prove poaching charge within 48 hrs or face consequences,' Mungatiwar warns NCP, Congress

BJP leader Sudhir Mungatiwar said, "Congress and NCP have made allegations of horse trading against us, they should prove this charge within 48 hours or apologize to the people of Maharashtra" 

15:20 (IST)

Govt formation should happen without 'further delay', says Sharad Pawar

Sharad Pawar said, "Government formation should happen without further delay...We both arrived at conclusion that Shiv Sena and BJP should come together." The NCP leader also said that Ramdas Athawale takes his advice and he has advised Athawale that Shiv Sena and BJP should come together to form a stable government. 

He further added that President's Rule is likely but no fresh polls in should happen in Maharashtra anytime soon. 

14:57 (IST)

'Steps should be taken to prevent BJP-led govt in Maharashtra': Congress leader Manikrao Thakre 

Another Congress leader, Manikrao Thakre, said some legislators are of the view that the party should take steps to prevent the installation of a BJP-led government in the state.

But, the final decision will be taken by the party high command in Delhi and that will be binding on all legislators," the former president of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) said.

State Congress president Balasaheb Thakre said the mandate given in the last month's polls was for the BJP and the Sena to form government, but they are delaying this process.

Our MLAs are airing their views, but final decision will be done by the Delhi leadership," he said, adding all party legislators are together to prevent attempts to lure them away.

- PTI

14:53 (IST)

'Attempts being made to get Congress MLAs to defect': state president Balasaheb Thorat

Amidst the speculations of possible horse-trading of its MLAs allegedly by the ruling BJP, Congress party has decided to lodge all its legislators at one place in order to keep its flock intact.

The Congress in Maharashtra on Friday alleged that attempts were being made to put pressure on party legislators to switch sides. State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat said his party has not taken any decision to support a Shiv Sena-led government in the state, where there is an impasse over formation of the next dispensation.

Talking to reporters, he said, "To avoid harassment, some MLAs have gone out (of Mumbai). Legislators have told us that they are being given proposals to defect from the party."

-PTI

14:50 (IST)

Congress insulting its own MLAs: BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar rejects poaching claims 

Refuting claims made by Congress of poaching its MLAs by offering money, BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar tells ANI, "Congress is insulting its own MLAs and voters too by talking about poaching of MLAs. Congress should prove if any such poaching attempt has been made."

14:33 (IST)

Devendra Fadnavis, Nitin Gadkari both refute Shiv Sena's claims

A video of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis purportedly saying all posts would be shared equally, is being used by the Shiv Sena to justify its demand for the post of chief minister for two and a half years.

However, Fadnavis, during media interactions last month, claimed no such deal was sealed between the BJP and the Shiv Sena ahead of the 21 October assembly polls. Fadnavis's statement had irked the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.

A similar statement by Nitin Gadkari now is likely to further widen the rift between the Shiv Sena and the BJP who are engaged in a tug-of-war over government formation.

- PTI

14:28 (IST)

No equal power-sharing deal between BJP, Shiv Sena, says Nitin Gadkari

Union minister and BJP leader​ Nitin Gadkari who arrived in Mumbai on Friday said there was no deal between his party and the Shiv Sena over equal distribution of portfolios, including sharing the post of chief minister.

The assertion by Gadkari indicates the BJP is not budging firm its stand of not sharing the chief minister's post with ally Shiv Sena.

While speaking to reporters, he said, "As per my information, there was no deal between the BJP and the Shiv​ Sena over equal sharing of portfolios in Maharashtra. Even the late Balasaheb Thackeray had once stressed on the arrangement between Shiv Sena-BJP that the party having more number of elected legislators will have a claim on the post of chief minister."

- PTI

14:21 (IST)

BJP leaders Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Vinod Tawde present at meeting

Senior BJP leaders and ministers Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Vinod Tawde, Subhash Deshmukh, Sambhaji Nilangekar Patil are all present at key meeting that is currently underway with other BJP senior leader's at Nitin Gadkari's residence, according to CNN-News18. The meeting is likely over who gets to stake claim and form the government in Maharashtra. 

14:10 (IST)

BREAKING: Key BJP meeting with senior party leaders underway at Nitin Gadkari's residence

Senior BJP leaders and minister are meeting with Nitin Gadkari at his residence, reports CNN-News18. This comes hours after Union minister rejected having any meeting with Uddhav Thackeray or any other party leaders, outside BJP. 

14:05 (IST)

Will President's Rule be imposed in Maharashtra?

According to a legislature secretariat official, if no party comes forward to stake claim to form the government, then Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari will have to invite the leader of the single-largest party. If a government still isn't formed, Koshyari will then have to call on the leader of the second-largest party. If all these options fail, then the governor will have to recommend President's Rule.

14:03 (IST)

RECAP: Nitin Gadkari expressed confidence over BJP forming govt in Maharashtra

On Thursday, Gadkari said that there soon will be a decision on Maharashtra government formation "under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis". The Union transport minister also categorically refuted speculations by news channels which reported that Gadkari might lead the BJP-Sena alliance in the state. "No question of me returning to Maharashtra. I will continue to work in Delhi."

On reports claiming RSS is involved in backdoor negotiations over government formation in the state, Gadkari said that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat shouldn't be linked to the government formation moves in Maharashtra. Speaking to reporters, Gadkari also ruled out his returning to the state to assume the top job.

Read full report here

13:42 (IST)

Nitin Gadkari refutes claims over meeting with Uddav Thackeray, says 'won't meet any politician today'

Union minister and BJP leader​ Nitin Gadkari, who arrived in Mumbai on Friday, indicated he will not intervene to break the deadlock between his party and the Shiv Sena over sharing power in Maharashtra.
 
Gadkari's visit triggered speculation in political circles that he may step in to break the fortnight-long BJP-​ Sena logjam over sharing the chief minister's post, which is delaying goverment formation in the state.
 
When contacted by reporters, Gadkari said, "I am here to attend a public function today evening."
 
 
-PTI

13:39 (IST)

BJP trashes horsetrading charges against party, calls claims 'baseless'

The BJP in Maharashtra on Friday strongly refuted allegations that it was engaging in horsetrading and offering money to MLAs of other parties to switch sides.
 
State BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said such a practice is not part of the party's culture. His assertion came after Congress leader Vijay​ Wadettiwar alleged sums of "Rs 25 crore to Rs 50 crore" were being offered to MLAs to switch sides in Maharashtra, where the formation of a new government is in a limbo due to fight between the BJP and the Shiv Sena over sharing of power.
 
When contacted, Upadhye told PTI, "There is no question of the BJP going for horse-trading as it is not our culture."
 
There have been allegations of BJP leaders, through intermediaries, making "offers" to newly-elected Congress MLAs to switch sides.​ Upadhye termed such allegations as baseless.
 
- PTI

13:32 (IST)

BREAKING: Nitin Gadkari says, 'won't meet any politician today'

Amid speculation reports claiming that Union minister Nitin Gadkari has offered to be a mediator between Shiv Sena and BJP, Gadkari tells CNN-NEWS18 that he is not going to meet any politician today and is in Mumbai to attend an event, rejecting all speculation over meeting with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. 

13:25 (IST)

"Why 15 days, take a month," Shiv Sena taunts BJP 

As the Maharashtra power tussle over government formation continues, a Shiv Sena leader has thrown a fresh dare at the ruling party. The BJP should form the government as the single largest party, said Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, and take "not 15 days but one month" to prove its majority, reports NDTV.

Sanjay Raut said it was up to the BJP to stake claim to power and prove its majority. "The single largest party should get the opportunity to form government first. That is the BJP. They should get not just 15 days, but one month to prove their majority in the assembly," Sanjay Raut told NDTV.

13:17 (IST)

What is President's Rule?

Under Article 356 of the Constitution, the president can take over the administration of a state if the governor submits a report stating that the Assembly is unable to elect a leader as chief minister for a time prescribed by the Governor.

The longest duration that Maharashtra was under President’s Rule was for 112 days in 1980 despite the then chief minister Sharad Pawar enjoying majority support in the House. It was again imposed for a period of 32 days in 2014, after then chief minister Prithviraj Chavan resigned following the break-up of 15-year-old Congress-NCP alliance.

Read full report here

12:58 (IST)

'Congress will do its best to stop horsetrading pattern': Nitin Raut 

Maharashtra Congress leader Nitin Raut confirmed reports of BJP approaching Congress' MLAs with money and claimed to stop any horse-trading pattern, ANI reported. 

"There were reports that some Congress MLAs were approached by BJP leaders with money. Yesterday one or two of our MLAs were offered around Rs 25 crore. We will do our best to stop the horse-trading pattern that started in Karnataka," Raut said.

12:42 (IST)

Nitin Gadkari offers to mediate between Sena, BJP 


Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has offered to mediate between the Shiv Sena and the BJP, 'in the interest of forming the government' in Maharashtra, reports India Today. The minister has denied horsetrading by Shiv Sena. 

12:40 (IST)

BREAKING: After Shiv Sena leaders, Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide meets chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, reports India Today

12:33 (IST)

BJP shouldn't prolong 'caretaker' provision, says Sanjay Raut 

 

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis should resign as the term of the existing assembly is ending on 9 November,​ Shiv Sena spokesman Sanjay Rut while talking to reporters on Friday.

"The BJP shouldn't prolong the caretaker provision and act from behind the curtains. We won't mind if the BJP, as the single largest party, stakes claim and forms the government," the Rajya Sabha MP said.

The Sena, insisting on equal distribution of portfolios and sharing the chief minister's post with the BJP for 2.5 years each, will "soon" meet Governor B S Koshyari, said Raut, the executive editor of party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.

-PTI

12:29 (IST)

Shiv Sena remains firm on CM post; asks BJP not to misuse interim govt norm

The Shiv Sena on Friday remained firm on its demand for sharing the chief minister's post in Maharashtra and asked the BJP not to misuse the provision of "caretaker" government to remain in power in the state.​

Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the BJP should approach the Uddhav Thackeray-led party only if it agrees to share the chief minister's post with the junior saffron ally.

12:15 (IST)

'Rs 25 to 50 crore being offered to MLAs to switch sides': Congress accuses BJP

Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar on Friday alleged that sums of "Rs 25 crore to Rs 50 crore" were being offered to MLAs to switch sides in Maharashtra.
 
He claimed Congress MLAs, too, have been contacted over the phone with such offers.
 
The Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly said the Shiv Sena has claimed one of its MLAs was offered Rs 50 crore to switch sides. "Our MLAs are also being contacted. Attempts are being made to lure away MLAs with offers of Rs 25 to Rs 50 crore," he alleged while talking to reporters.
 
"We have told our MLAs to record such calls so that people of the state know about them," he said. The Congress leader accused the BJP of taking politics to a new low. However, the BJP has denied allegations it was trying to wean away MLAs from other parties.
 
-PTI

12:12 (IST)

RECAP:  Aaditya Thackeray met the Shiv Sena MLAs night last 

Thackeray met newly-elected party MLAs at a hotel here in Mumbai early on Friday as uncertainty over the formation of the next government continues to prevail in Maharashtra.​ Aditya arrived late on Thursday night at Hotel Rangsharda, where the MLAs are lodged to prevent poaching attempts and left about 1 am on Friday.

The Worli MLA-elect has been projected as the next chief minister by party leaders.

12:07 (IST)

Maharashtra likely to head for President's Rule for third time 

With no clear majority in sight, the impasse over government formation in Maharashtra is likely to head toward's an imposition of President's Rule in the state as statements made by leaders from both parties further fuelled only confusion and speculation, instead of clarity, on a possible resolution to the deadlock.

But this is not the first time that the state is going to be under President's Rule. Maharashtra has been on two different occasions come under this special provision.

The longest duration that Maharashtra was under President’s Rule was for 112 days in 1980 despite the then chief minister Sharad Pawar enjoying majority support in the House. It was again imposed for a period of 32 days in 2014, after then chief minister Prithviraj Chavan resigned following the break-up of 15-year-old Congres-NCP alliance.

Read full report here

11:59 (IST)

'BJP pushing Maharashtra towards President's rule': NCP accuses ally

With government formation not happening in Maharashtra yet, the NCP on Friday accused the​ BJP of pushing the state towards President's rule and wanting to run it through Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the NDA constituent's chief Amit Shah.

NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik also said the people of Maharashtra will not tolerate this "insult" of the state. He added history shows the state doesn't bow before the "throne of Delhi".
 
- PTI

11:51 (IST)

'Not moved our MLA's anywhere': Congress leader clarifies amid speculations 

Vijay Wadettiwar, Congres leader of opposition in Maharashtra Assembly rubbishes claims of Congress MLA's being sent to Jaipur, says "We have not moved our MLAs anywhere, all our MLAs are at their locations. If some of our MLAs have gone to any place it might be a personal visit."

Shiv Sena MLAs were on Thursday shifted to Rangsharda Hotel in suburban Bandra amid the ongoing uncertainty over government formation.

11:48 (IST)

'Will not let BJP form govt in Maharashtra': Congress leader Husain Dalwai

Congress leader Husain Dalwai on Friday said that his party will not allow the BJP to form the government in Maharashtra. The leader also exuded confidence that the party MLAs will follow the party high command's direction.


"All Congress MLAs are together. No MLA will break away from the party. MLAs will follow what party high command. We'll not allow BJP to form the government in the state. NCP is our ally, they are with us. People have voted for us to save Maharashtra," he said while speaking to ANI in Mumbai.


Hussain Dalwai said, "I am fully sure that BJP will not be able to poach our MLAs.Some Congress leaders who defected before elections are planning to return."

- ANI

11:41 (IST)

Uddhav Thackeray is to meet district presidents of Shiv Sena at 12 pm

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is to meet district presidents of Shiv Sena at 12 pm at Shiv Sena Bhawan, reports CNN-News18. If the BJP and Shiv Sena will not reach an agreement by Friday, the state will fall under President's Rule. 

11:37 (IST)

44 Congress MLA's to attend meeting

Forty-four Congress MLAs are to attend the meet, which is expected to discuss the prevailing political situation in Maharashtra where there is no sign of the new government even two weeks after the declaration of polls results.

The party is exercising caution due to the possibility of defection from its legislative wing, the sources said. Speculation is rife that the Congress legislators may be shifted to Jaipur, but the sources did not confirm any such move.

11:32 (IST)

'Approach Shiv Sena if you are ready to share CM post:' Sanjay Raut to BJP

The BJP should approach the Shiv​ Sena only if it agrees to share the chief minister's post with the junior saffron ally in Maharashtra, senior Sena leader
Sanjay Raut said on Friday.
 
Talking to reporters, he said the BJP should not misuse the provision of "caretaker" government and remain in power in Maharashtra, where there is an impasse over the next dispensation.
 
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis should resign as the term of the existing assembly is ending (on November 9), the​ Sena spokesman said.

11:28 (IST)

Congress MLAs to meet today

As the impasse over government formation continued in Maharashtra, the Congress has convened a meeting of its newly-elected MLAs on Friday amid speculation that they may be shifted to Jaipur.

State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat and other senior leaders will be present at the meeting which will take place around 10.30 am, party sources said.

Read full report here

11:25 (IST)

Nitin Gadkari reaches Mumbai

Union minister and BJP senior leader Nitin Gadkari has reached Mumbai. He is expected to hold talks with Shiv Sena chief Uddhave Thackeray to end the deadlock between the allies. 

11:15 (IST)

'If President's Rule imposed, it will be disrespectful to people of state': Sanjay Raut 

Reacting to Nition Gadkari's expected visit, the Shiv Sena has said that the talk with the BJP would be only on the proposal of chief minister's chair for 2.5 years. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, "If President's rule is imposed in the Maharashtra, it will be disrespect to people of the state."

11:13 (IST)

Nition Gadkari to meet Uddav Thackeray

Union minister Nitin Gakdari is likely to meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at 'Matoshree' on Friday, reports CNN-News18,  to broker truce between the party and BJP to pave way for government formation in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra Govt Formation Latest Updates: Amid a protracted power tussle between alliance partners BJP and Shiv Sena, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to address a press conference regarding the issue at 4.30 pm on Friday, reports said.

Currently, Fadnavis and the council of ministers have reached the Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at the Raj Bhavan. India Today also reported that Fadnavis is speculated to offer his resignation as chief minister, some hours ahead of the dissolution of the current Assembly.

Refuting claims made by Congress of poaching its MLAs by offering money, BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar tells ANI, "Congress is insulting its own MLAs and voters too by talking about poaching of MLAs. Congress should prove if any such poaching attempt has been made."

Sharad Pawar said, "Government formation should happen without further delay...We both arrived at conclusion that Shiv Sena and BJP should come together." The NCP leader also said that Ramdas Athawale takes his advice and he has advised Athawale that Shiv Sena and BJP should come together to form a stable government.

He further added that President's Rule is likely but no fresh polls in should happen in Maharashtra anytime soon

Amidst the speculations of possible horse-trading of its MLAs allegedly by the ruling BJP, Congress party has decided to lodge all its legislators at one place in order to keep its flock intact. The Congress in Maharashtra on Friday alleged that attempts were being made to put pressure on party legislators to switch sides. State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat said his party has not taken any decision to support a Shiv Sena-led government in the state, where there is an impasse over formation of the next dispensation.

Talking to reporters, he said, "To avoid harassment, some MLAs have gone out (of Mumbai). Legislators have told us that they are being given proposals to defect from the party."

Union minister and BJP leader​ Nitin Gadkari who arrived in Mumbai on Friday said there was no deal between his party and the Shiv Sena over equal distribution of portfolios, including sharing the post of chief minister. The assertion by Gadkari indicates the BJP is not budging firm its stand of not sharing the chief minister's post with ally Shiv Sena.

While speaking to reporters, he said, "As per my information, there was no deal between the BJP and the Shiv​ Sena over equal sharing of portfolios in Maharashtra. Even the late Balasaheb Thackeray had once stressed on the arrangement between Shiv Sena-BJP that the party having more number of elected legislators will have a claim on the post of chief minister."

Senior BJP leaders and minister are meeting with Nitin Gadkari at his residence, reports CNN-News18. This comes hours after Union minister rejected having any meeting with Uddhav Thackeray or any other party leaders, outside BJP.

Amid speculation reports claiming that Union minister Nitin Gadkari has offered to be a mediator between Shiv Sena and BJP, Gadkari tells CNN-NEWS18 that he is not going to meet any politician today and is in Mumbai to attend an event, rejecting all speculation over meeting with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has offered to mediate between the Shiv Sena and the BJP, 'in the interest of forming the government' in Maharashtra, reports India Today. The minister has denied horsetrading by Shiv Sena. The Shiv Sena on Friday remained firm on its demand for sharing the chief minister's post in Maharashtra and asked the BJP not to misuse the provision of "caretaker" government to remain in power in the state.​ Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the BJP should approach the Uddhav Thackeray-led party only if it agrees to share the chief minister's post with the junior saffron ally.

Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar on Friday alleged that sums of "Rs 25 crore to Rs 50 crore" were being offered to MLAs to switch sides in Maharashtra.  He claimed Congress MLAs, too, have been contacted over the phone with such offers.

The Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly said the Shiv Sena has claimed one of its MLAs was offered Rs 50 crore to switch sides. "Our MLAs are also being contacted. Attempts are being made to lure away MLAs with offers of Rs 25 to Rs 50 crore," he alleged while talking to reporters.

"We have told our MLAs to record such calls so that people of the state know about them," he said. The Congress leader accused the BJP of taking politics to a new low. However, the BJP has denied allegations it was trying to wean away MLAs from other parties.

Vijay Wadettiwar, Congres leader of opposition in Maharashtra Assembly rubbishes claims of Congress MLA's being sent to Jaipur, says "We have not moved our MLAs anywhere, all our MLAs are at their locations. If some of our MLAs have gone to any place it might be a personal visit."

Shiv Sena MLAs were on Thursday shifted to Rangsharda Hotel in suburban Bandra amid the ongoing uncertainty over government formation.

The stalemate over the power equation in Maharashtra continues as the deadline of the current Assembly ends by Friday midnight. Citing sources, CNN-News18 reported that Union minister Nitin Gadkari is likely to meet Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai on Friday to iron out differences between the alliance partners. Thackeray had on Thursday toughened his stand saying he would only talk to the BJP if it agrees to share the chief minister's post for 2.5 years.

The Congress has also convened a meeting of its newly-elected MLAs here on Friday amid speculation that they may be shifted to Jaipur. State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat and other senior leaders will be present at the meeting which will take place around 10.30 am, party sources said.

They said all the 44 Congress MLAs will attend the meet, which is expected to discuss the prevailing political situation in Maharashtra where there is no sign of the new government even two weeks after the declaration of polls results.

The party is exercising caution due to the possibility of defection from its legislative wing, the sources said. Speculation is rife that the Congress legislators may be shifted to Jaipur, but the sources did not confirm any such move.

The Congress on Thursday questioned the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance's "moral right" to form government in Maharashtra if the Sena apprehends poaching of its MLAs by its senior ally.

The Nationalist Congress Party, the other prominent opposition party, claimed that MLAs were being approached with inducements for switching camps. "The Shiv Sena is an alliance partner of the BJP and part of 'Mahayuti' (grand alliance). If it is afraid that the BJP will poach its MLAs, then we can very well understand how much morally corrupt the BJP is, and why we must save Maharashtra from them," said state Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant.

"Does Mahayuti have the moral right to form government now?" Sawant tweeted. He was apparently referring to the Sena's decision to shift its legislators to Rangsharda Hotel in suburban Bandra amid the ongoing political uncertainty. The saffron allies contested the 21 October Assembly polls together along with smaller allies. However, despite winning a comfortable majority, the two parties are now warring over the chief minister's post.

Some independent leaders, who are close to the BJP, had claimed that a section of Shiv Sena MLAs was in touch with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Taking a dig at the BJP, Congress's national spokesperson Sanjay Jha said resorts in tourist spots near Mumbai such as Khandala and Matheran may soon get booked (for shifting MLAs there to guard them from poaching attempts).

"But given the money they have, the BJP should also consider the Maldives, Bahamas, Bermuda and Pattaya," he quipped. Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil, without naming any party, claimed some MLAs were being offered inducements to cross over. "Some MLAs are being lured now. But in case anyone defects (to the BJP), other parties will come together and defeat him/her (in bypoll)," Patil told reporters.

NCP MLAs were not being targeted, he added. "Those who wanted to switch sides, left before the election. Those elected (on NCP tickets) have people's faith in them and we are ready to sit in the opposition," he said.

Patil also said the Shiv Sena had not approached the NCP seeking support to form government. "Nor we have had any discussion within the NCP on supporting the Sena," he claimed.
If the BJP agreed to the Sena's demand of sharing the chief minister's post on rotation and equal distribution of other ministerial berths, there will be no question of
President's rule in the state, the NCP leader said.

Another NCP leader Dhananjay Munde also said nobody from the Sharad Pawar-led party will defect. Munde, one of the newly-elected MLAs, accused the BJP and the Shiv Sena of committing a "sin" by not forming government despite having the mandate.

Lack of initiative on their part may lead the state towards the President's rule, he said. "The Mahayuti has the mandate. But they are bickering over the chief ministerial post. Only few hours are left to form government...if they are not going to form government, then it hints at the President's rule. That sin they are committing," Munde told a Marathi news channel.

In the last month's polls to the 288-member Assembly, the BJP won 105 seats followed by the Shiv Sena-56, the NCP-54 and the Congress 44. The majority mark in the house is 145.

The current Assembly is set to expire on 9 November.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday, reiterating the party's demand for the post of the chief minister in Maharashtra, said, "The Constitution belongs to the people. The Constitution is not their inheritance, if they (BJP) go down that road then they need to know that we can also use the Constitution. I am sure that we will have our chief minister in Maharashtra."

A deadlock has prevailed in the state since the declaration of results of the Assembly election in October, with the two allies refusing to budge on their individual demands regarding the power-sharing equation in the state government. However, the current Assembly expires on Friday, after which President's Rule will be imposed if the impasse is not resolved.

On this, Raut said, "Looks like BJP is trying to impose President's rule in Maharashtra. This is against the mandate that the people have given us. If you can form the government then make it clear."

"We will hold discussions with BJP provided they agree to what was decided during the Lok Sabha polls. They can call me up if they decide to give us Chief Minister’s post for 2.5 years, otherwise don’t call me up," The Indian Express quoted Uddhav Thackeray, as saying. Shiv Sena is adamant on getting the CM post, however, the party said it will not break alliance with the BJP.

Shiv Sena has reportedly booked rooms at a five-star hotel in Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex amid reports that a faction could break away to support its ally BJP. However, party leader Sanjay Raut has rubbished such reports saying, "Our MLAs are committed to the party and do not need sequestering to keep them from defecting. No party will break in Maharashtra."

 

A fortnight after the announcement of Assembly poll results, the prospects of a new government being formed in Maharashtra remain as elusive as ever. The BJP, which won 105 seats, and the Shiv Sena, which bagged 56 seats, are locked in a bitter tussle over sharing of the chief minister's post and ministerial portfolios in the new government, even 13 days after the Assembly poll verdict handed them enough seats to stitch together a coalition government.

They won 161 seats together in the 288-member House, well above the halfway mark of 145; however, the stalemate continues as neither party got absolute majority and both are claiming the chief minister's post.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Today, BJP leaders are slated to meet the governor while Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is set to meet party legislators at his residence, Matoshree to decide on the party's stand regarding government formation. Congress and NCP meanwhile, have snubbed Sena's flirtation. Sharad Pawar clarified on Wednesday that he was not interested in propping up a Sena-led government by upsetting the pre-poll coalition arrangements, when it clearly got the mandate to sit in Opposition.

Unconfirmed reports had suggested that the Sena, which has been bargaining hard for chief minister's post with BJP, had sent feelers to the Opposition camp to see if they are willing to accommodate its demand. This came after the Congress had announced unconditional support to the Janata Dal (Secular) just to keep the BJP out of power, even relenting the chief minister's post to the junior alliance partner.

However, reports claimed that Sonia Gandhi firmly put her foot down on the issue, clarifying that Sena's ideological position would never allow for an alliance between Maha-agadhi partners and the Maratha party.

Besides, the Opposition NCP won 54 seats while the Congress got 44 seats; in order to prop up a government excluding the BJP, Sena, Congress and NCP would have had to come together to form a government.

The tenure of the present Assembly ends in two days and the Constitution warrants the imposition of President's Rule if no coalition/party comes to stake claim for government formation in case of a hung Assembly. The Constitution does not state any provision for an extension of term of the current Assembly. Hence, Maharashtra will see one of the following scenarios play out.

Option 1: A BJP-Sena government

This is the most simplistic and morally appropriate choice left before the political parties in Maharashtra, as notwithstanding the post-election bickering, the Mahayuti was the alliance that got voted to power. It is still widely believed that the cat-and-mouse game between the two alliance partners is a hollow attempt at one-upmanship and Shiv Sena will eventually settle for an agreement with the BJP in a give-and-take pact for power-sharing. This gains currency from reports about Shiv Sena approaching the RSS and demanding Union minister Nitin Gadkari as an interlocutor.

Sources from both parties say a special three-day session of the House may be convened next week to swear in the new MLAs.

A resolution to the BJP-Shiv Sena stalemate over government formation is expected and a new dispensation may take office before the term of the outgoing Assembly ends, sources said. Sources from both parties said back-channel talks are on between the two old but often-feuding Hindutva allies and a breakthrough is expected.

"We expect a breakthrough. If all goes well we can have a government by 9 November," a source, who did not wish to be identified, told PTI.

However, it was not clear as to what will be the concession offered by the BJP to the Sena if the Uddhav Thackeray-led party decides to bury the hatchet. A senior BJP functionary asserted the party will not compromise on the post of chief minister.

But Sena as of now appears unlikely to yield. At the time of writing, Sena leader Sanjay Raut for the umpteenth time reasserted that the chief minister will be from his party. Claiming that the BJP had agreed to a "50-50" formula on power sharing in the state, the Sena has demanded that the top seat should be shared between the two. Meanwhile, PTI quotes BJP sources as saying the party will not compromise on the post of chief minister, which brings us to our second option.

Option 2: Minority government for the time being

It is possible for the governor to use the power entrusted to him and invite a person, who he feels is the most likely to command the confidence of the House. In this case, the leader of the single largest party, who was also the past chief minister with the support of his current ally, may be invited by the governor. However, he must prove his majority within a span set by the governor on the floor of the House.

According to a website that documents Constitutional conventions and Supreme Court judgments, in a letter dated 17 May, 1967 to three former Chief Justices of India, Justices Mahajan, Sarkar and Gajendragadkar and eminent constitutional experts like MC Setalvad and HM Seervai, the then home minister YB Chavan mentioned three views on the appointment of the chief minister and sought their legal opinion on it.

The three views were: (i) The leader of the largest party in the legislature should be invited to form the government irrespective of whether or not such a party commands a stable majority. (ii) If the party in power failed to secure an absolute majority in the newly- elected legislature, the leader of that party should not be invited to form the Government  because the electoral verdict should be regarded as, in effect, disqualifying the party from holding office for another term. (iii) The governor should make endeavour to appoint a person who is most likely to command a majority in the legislature.

There was complete agreement on the third point.

Option 3: President's Rule

Under Article 356 of the Constitution of India, in the event that a state government is unable to function according to constitutional provisions, the Central government can take direct control of the state machinery.

Based on the report of the Sarkaria Commission on Centre–State relations(1988), the Supreme Court in SR Bommai versus Union of India case (1994) enlisted the situations where the President's Rule can be imposed on a federal state under Article 356. Amid other conditions laid down, the first three pointers deal with the scenarios where a majority government is absent in state.

  • When after general elections to the Assembly, no party secures a majority, that is, Hung Assembly
  • When the party/ coalition having a majority in the Assembly declines to form a ministry and the governor cannot find a coalition/ party commanding a majority in the Assembly.
  • When a ministry resigns after its defeat in the Assembly and no other party is willing or able to form a ministry commanding a majority in the Assembly.

Arguably, any of the three pointers aren't unimaginable in the Maharashtra scenario, if the pre-poll alliance between Shiv Sena and BJP fails to take shape despite negotiations.

Option 4: Sena, NCP and Congress combine comes to power

This is highly unlikely (and virtually impossible), given the fact that Pawar has shown no inclination to support Sena so far. However, purely dealing with a mathematical possibility, it is possible for Sena (now 60 after the support of Independents), NCP (54) and Congress (44) to cobble up a coalition government. The most likely power-sharing agreement could be under a Sena chief minister and a council of ministers including MLAs from all three parties. However, such an alliance will be unsteady because of obvious ideological clashes between the hardline Sena and secular Congress and NCP.

With inputs from PTI



November 08, 2019 at 04:24PM

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