Maharashtra Govt Formation Updates: Congress leaders Prithiviraj Chavan, Sushil Kumar Shinde meet Sharad Pawar as BJP-Shiv Sena deadlock continues - Live Now 24x7

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Friday, 8 November 2019

Maharashtra Govt Formation Updates: Congress leaders Prithiviraj Chavan, Sushil Kumar Shinde meet Sharad Pawar as BJP-Shiv Sena deadlock continues

20:44 (IST)

Posters outside Thackeray residence in Bandra

As the power tussle between the BJP and Shiv Sena persisted in Maharashtra, posters hailing the party were seen outside the family's residence, Matoshree, in Bandra.

20:33 (IST)

BJP-Shiv Sena alliance still intact

The alliance between saffron parties BJP and Shiv Sena seems to be ostensibly intact even despite a massive rift over the power sharing equation in Maharashtra. Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray, at the helm of affairs for the parties' state units, on Friday held press conferences in which they were critical of each other but both reiterated that they wanted "to continue the alliance".

20:20 (IST)

NCP slams BJP for not staking claim, says party likely to resort to poaching MLAs

The NCP on Friday asked why caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis did not stake claim to form government before Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari when he could talk about retaining power during a press briefing. NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said it implied the BJP will resort to poaching.

Earlier, Fadnavis met Koshyari and tendered his resignation. Later, addressing the press conference, Fadnavis said the BJP will retain power in the state.

"While informing about his resignation during a press conference, Devendra Fadnavis claimed only BJP will form government. Why did not he make such a claim before the Honourable Governor then? What it is if not poaching?" Malik tweeted with a hashtag "MaharashtraPoliticalCrisis".

20:11 (IST)

Congress leaders meet Sharad Pawar

Seniior Maharashtra Congress leaders Prithviraj Chavan, Ashok Chavan, Sushil Kumar Shinde, and Balasaheb Thorat met NCP chief Sharad Pawar as the political deadlock in the state continued.

On Friday, the contentions between alliance partners BJP and Shiv Sena, who have received the most votes in the recently concluded Assembly election, were expressed by Maharashtra caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

The future of the upcoming Assembly hangs in the balance as neither of the alliance parties are willing to budge from their individual stands on the latter's demand for a rotational chief minister.

19:58 (IST)

Shiv Sena seeks police protection for MLAs

The Shiv Sena on Friday sought police protection in Mumbai for its newly-elected MLAs, who will be shifted to a resort, till 15 November, apparently fearing defections from its legislative rank. Sena secretary Milind Narvekar has written a letter to the Mumbai police commissioner, seeking necessary protection for the party's MLAs till 15 November.

In the letter, Narvekar said all MLAs would be staying at Retreat hotel in suburban Malad. "Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will be meeting his MLAs frequently for future decisions. We request you to provide necessary security measures," Narvekar said.

"We have received the letter from the Shiv Sena and the Mumbai police will take care of the security of their MLAs," a police official said.

PTI

19:56 (IST)

Devendra Fadnavis said talks of rotational CM shouldn't be made public: Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, addressing a press conference to respond to the BJP's statements on Friday said, "Devendra Fadnavis had requested for the decision of sharing the chief minister's post to not be made public as he claimed it would create problems for him within the party. I will not speak to them till they accept their falsehood. I am firm on chief ministership. BJP will have to accept Shiv Sena's demand for the chief minister;s post."

19:45 (IST)

Priyanka Chaturvedi hails Uddhav Thackeray for 'mic-drop moment'

Amid the ongoing power tussle between the BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi praised party chief Uddhav Thackeray's statement on the speculation that BJP was trying to lure its MLAs.

19:23 (IST)

Uddhav Thackeray says Shiv Sena only criticised BJP over policies

The Sena chief denied Devendra Fadnavis's claim that party leaders had targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "We have never criticised Narendra Modi but criticised the NDA government from time to time over policies," he said.

Thackeray also mentioned the Amit Shah-led party's past alliances when asked whether the party was in talks with Opposition party NCP. "You can form the government with Nitish Kumar and Mehbooba Mufti. Was that right? You went for Nawaz Sharif's birthday. Was that right?"

19:16 (IST)

BJP should stake claim to form govt: Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray challenged alliance partner BJP to stake claim to form the government in Maharashtra on Friday as the stalemate over the power equation continued between the allies.

"The BJP should stake claim to power. We have other options open before us. The decision about the alliance now rests with the BJP," he said.

Thackeray also claimed that the Maharashtra electorate has more faith in Thackeray family than BJP president Amit Shah or caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

19:06 (IST)

Devendra Fadnavis tweets after submitting resignation

Maharashtra caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted after he submitted his resignation as Chief Minister of Maharashtra to state governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Friday. "We will soon give a government to the people of Maharashtra, which they expect from us and is also the need for the mandate!" he said.

18:50 (IST)

Uddhav Thackeray says regret entering into alliance with BJP

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that he was "hurt" over the insinuation by BJP that the agreement over a rotational chief minister's post had not happened. He said that the alliance was based on the shared principle of Hindutva, but if the BJP was lying, then that was against Hindutva. "If there are lies, then that is false Hindutva," he said.

"It is very sad that while cleaning the Ganga their minds became polluted. I felt bad that we entered into an alliance with the wrong people," he added.

He was also quoted by India Today as saying that BJP chief Amit Shah "had time for Dushyant Chautala but not us".

18:42 (IST)

No discussion with Congress, NCP: Uddhav Thackeray

The Shiv Sena has not engaged in discussions with the Congress and NCP, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday. "How does the BJP know whether we speaking to the NCP or not? Are they snooping on us?" he was quoted as saying by CNN-News18.

18:35 (IST)

I will not talk to BJP till they accept that they lied about CM demand: Uddhav Thackeray

Responding to Devendra Fadnavis' comment that Uddhav Thackeray "didn't have the time to speak to him", the Shiv Sena chief said, "I have the time, but I have chosen not to hold discussions with the BJP. I will continue to not engage in discussion till the party agrees that they are lying about the agreement of the rotational chief minister's post. This is not something I am happy about this, but it is the principle of the Thackeray family."

18:32 (IST)

Shiv Sena is not a party of liars: Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday reiterated the party's demand on a rotational chief minister's post and said that BJP president Amit Shah had agreed to the demand in the discussion before the Lok Sabha election.

Stating that he was "hurt" over the question over whether the talks had indeed happened or not, he said, "Whatever has been decided has to be followed through. I decided to terminate talks with the BJP after they insinuated that I was lying about the rotational chief minister demand. Because talks have to be based on trust between two allies. For the first time, someone accused Thackeray family of lying."

"Shiv Sena is a not a party of liars. I don't consider BJP my enemy, but they should not lie. The public is seeing who is lying, about 'ache din' or the promises around demonetisation. The BJP should also prove when I made statements about Narendra Modi," he added.

18:21 (IST)

Uddhav Thackeray begins press conference

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also addressed a press conference on Friday in response to Maharashtra caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis' statements on the power tussle in the state.

He said that the party's demand for a rotational chief minister had been told "clearly" to BJP president Amit Shah ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. "I have promised my father, the people of Maharashtra and Shiv Sena workers that there will be a chief minister from the party, and I tied up with the BJP to follow through on that promised. But I will fulfill that promise, I don't need Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis for that," he added.

18:10 (IST)

There was no assurance of rotational CM from Amit Shah: Nitin Gadkari

Senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari also spoke to the media after Devendra Fadnavis' press conference after he submitted his resignation as Maharashtra chief minister on Friday.

He said, "Shiv Sena had made a proposal for a rotational chief minister, but in the discussion between party president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, there was no assurance given from Shah on the issue. He said that the topic would be deliberated on during the Assembly election. Anyway, it is the norm that the biggest party that institutes the chief minister."

"Our alliance with Shiv Sena has been successful till now, but now it is their prerogative to decide whether to continue or break the alliance. However, I don't think an alliance between the NCP and Shiv Sena would be successful because Hindutva is the biggest strength of our alliance with the Shiv Sena."

17:57 (IST)

Devendra Fadnavis says 'wrong to impose fresh election'

Devendra Fadnavis, stating that the BJP was questioning its alliance with the Shiv Sena in view of the "shocking" statements made by leaders of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party, also asserted that it would be "wrong to impose a fresh election on the people".

"The state should get a government. We will take measures to ensure that we do this. People are accusing that the BJP is trying to buy MLAs. I challenge them to prove the accusation. While forming the government we will not indulge in horse-trading," he said. 

17:52 (IST)

Never decided that CM post will be shared: Devendra Fadnavis

Maharashtra caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, in a press conference on Friday clarified the BJP's stand on ally Shiv Sena's demand for a rotational chief minister post.

He said, "I want to make it clear again that it was never decided that for two and a half years each, the chief minister's post will be shared. There was never a decision on this issue. Even Amit Shahji and Nitin Gadkariji said this was never decided."

17:26 (IST)

Uddhav Thackeray to address press conference at 6 pm

In an attempt to give answer-for-answer, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is likely to address a press conference at 6 pm in response to Maharashtra caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis' statements on the power tussle between the alliance partners.

17:23 (IST)

Sanjay Raut responds to Devendra Fadnavis' statements

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Friday responded the former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis' statements in a press conference. Raut said that if the BJP is claiming that the government will be formed by the "senior ally", then he would congratulate the party. "But I am still saying on behalf of my party that the Shiv Sena is capable of forming the government and instituting a chief minister of the party," he said to reporters.

Incidentally, Raut had just stepped out of a meeting with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar.

17:15 (IST)

BJP questioning alliance with Shiv Sena: Devendra Fadnavis

Devendra Fadnavis, saying that the BJP was hurt by the statements made by Shiv Sena leaders on Narendra Modi and the BJP, said that the saffron party was "questioning" its alliance with the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.

17:07 (IST)

Governor asked me to be acting CM: Devendra Fadnavis

Devendra Fadnavis, who on Friday submitted his resignation as Maharashtra chief minister amid the power tussle with ally Shiv Sena, said that Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had asked him to continue as the acting chief minister of the state.

Since the results of the Assembly election were announced on 24 October, the alliance partners have been at loggerheads over their individual demands of power-sharing. Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena is demanding a rotational chief minister's post based on a "previously agreed upon deal" but the BJP has denied that such an agreement was made.

As a result, there has been an impasse as the deadline of dissolving the Assembly drew near. On Friday, with a few hours to go before the tenure of the current Assembly elapses, Fadnavis submitted his resignation and said that he has been asked to continue as the acting chief minister.

16:56 (IST)

Shiv Sena cut off talks with BJP, but continuing discussions with NCP-Congress: Devendra Fadnavis

Devendra Fadnavis, addressing the press conference said, "Maybe there was a prior understanding in the Shiv Sena that the party must try to join the Congress and NCP after the results. Our doors for communications have always been open, but the Shiv Sena took a stand of cutting off talks with the BJP but continuing discussions with the Congress and NCP."

"I will not say anything about Uddhav Thackeray, but the statements being made by the party leaders around him have been disappointing. We also have the ability to reply to all these statements, but that is not what the people expect from us."

Fadnavis also claimed that he had called Uddhav many times with the intention to break the impasse, but that "Uddhavji" had not taken his calls.

"We have never said anything against Shiv Sena stalwart Bal Thackeray, even when we contested against the party in 2014, but in the last ten days they have made comments against the party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that is disappointing.

"Shiv Sena is not an Opposition party, but an ally of the BJP in the Centre and the state, and such statements from them are  not acceptable to us. Even Congress or any Opposition party has not criticised Modi like the Shiv Sena has in the last ten days."

16:49 (IST)

Uddhav's statement on forming govt was shocking: Devendra Fadnavis

Devendra Fadnavis, addressing a press conference amid the power tussle with the Shiv Sena, said that Uddhav Thackeray's statement on the day of the results when he said that 'all options were available to form the government', was "shocking".

"People have voted for the Mahayuti government together, but now allies are looking for their own interests. I want to make one thing clear about their demand for a rotational chief minister, that I have no knowledge of such an understanding or deal between the two parties. If Uddhav Thackeray has spoken to Amit Shah in my absence, then I am not aware of it.

"Whatever the issues were, they should have been resolved by talks, but that has not happened. In the past five years, there has been mutual respect between the allies, but now Uddhav Thackeray has not taken my calls," Fadnavis said.

16:43 (IST)

Devendra Fadnavis thanks electorate, colleagues after resigning as CM

Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, addressing a press conference soon after submitting his resignation from the post to the Maharashtra governor, said that he was grateful to the electorate and his colleagues for the governance made possible in the first term of the government under him.

He lauded the Cabinet, administration, and officials for the work done for the development of the state, including implementing schemes for roads and the Metro project. He also thanked the BJP's allies, under the umbrella of Mahayuti alliance which includes the Republican Party of India (RPI).

16:39 (IST)

Devendra Fadnavis addresses press conference 

16:32 (IST)

Sanjay Raut reaches Sharad Pawar's residence

As the stalemate between the BJP and Shiv Sena continued for the 15th day on Friday, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut is currently meeting Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. The main Opposition alliance, NCP and Congress have also dilly-dallied on a decision on whether to extend support the Shiv Sena or not.

Congress and NCP leaders have repeatedly maintained that the mandate is for the parties to sit in Opposition.

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. CNN-News18 reported that the governor is likely to appoint Fadnavis as the caretaker chief minister till the government is formed.

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

Maharashtra Govt Formation Latest Updates: Seniior Maharashtra Congress leaders Prithviraj Chavan, Ashok Chavan, Sushil Kumar Shinde, and Balasaheb Thorat met NCP chief Sharad Pawar as the political deadlock in the state continued.

On Friday, the contentions between alliance partners BJP and Shiv Sena, who have received the most votes in the recently concluded Assembly election, were expressed by Maharashtra caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

The future of the upcoming Assembly hangs in the balance as neither of the alliance parties are willing to budge from their individual stands on the latter's demand for a rotational chief minister.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that he was "hurt" over the insinuation by BJP that the agreement over a rotational chief minister's post had not happened. He said that the alliance was based on the shared principle of Hindutva, but if the BJP was lying, then that was against Hindutva. "If there are lies, then that is false Hindutva," he said.

"It is very sad that while cleaning the Ganga their minds became polluted. I felt bad that we entered into an alliance with the wrong people," he added.

He was also quoted by India Today as saying that BJP chief Amit Shah "had time for Dushyant Chautala but not us".

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray challenged alliance partner BJP to stake claim to form the government in Maharashtra on Friday as the stalemate over the power equation continued between the allies.

"The BJP should stake claim to power. We have other options open before us. The decision about the alliance now rests with the BJP," he said.

Thackeray also claimed that the Maharashtra electorate has more faith in Thackeray family than BJP president Amit Shah or caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday reiterated the party's demand on a rotational chief minister's post and said that BJP president Amit Shah had agreed to the demand in the discussion before the Lok Sabha election.

Stating that he was "hurt" over the question over whether the talks had indeed happened or not, he said, "Whatever has been decided has to be followed through. I decided to terminate talks with the BJP after they insinuated that I was lying about the rotational chief minister demand. Because talks have to be based on trust between two allies. For the first time, someone accused Thackeray family of lying."

"Shiv Sena is a not a party of liars. I don't consider BJP my enemy, but they should not lie. The public is seeing who is lying, about 'ache din' or the promises around demonetisation. The BJP should also prove when I made statements about Narendra Modi," he added.

After Devendra Fadnavis' press conference on the power tussle with ally Shiv Sena, the party chief Uddhav Thackeray has also begun his press conference on the issue.

In an attempt to give answer-for-answer, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is likely to address a press conference at 6 pm in response to Maharashtra caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis' statements on the power tussle between the alliance partners.

Devendra Fadnavis also claimed that he had called Uddhav many times with the intention to break the impasse, but "Uddhavji did not take my calls."

Devendra Fadnavis, who on Friday submitted his resignation as Maharashtra chief minister amid the power tussle with ally Shiv Sena, said that Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had asked him to continue as the acting chief minister of the state.

Since the results of the Assembly election were announced on 24 October, the alliance partners have been at loggerheads over their individual demands of power-sharing. Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena is demanding a rotational chief minister's post based on a "previously agreed upon deal" but the BJP has denied that such an agreement was made.

As a result, there has been an impasse as the deadline of dissolving the Assembly drew near. On Friday, with a few hours to go before the tenure of the current Assembly elapses, Fadnavis submitted his resignation and said that he has been asked to continue as the acting chief minister.

Devendra Fadnavis, addressing the press conference said, "Maybe there was a prior understanding in the Shiv Sena that the party must try to join the Congress and NCP after the results. Our doors for communications have always been open, but the Shiv Sena took a stand of cutting off talks with the BJP but continuing discussions with the Congress and NCP."

"I will not say anything about Uddhav Thackeray, but the statements being made by the party leaders around him have been disappointing. We also have the ability to reply to all these statements, but that is not what the people expect from us."

"We have never said anything against Shiv Sena stalwart Bal Thackeray, even when we contested against the party in 2014, but in the last ten days they have made comments against the party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that is disappointing.

"Shiv Sena is not an Opposition party, but an ally of the BJP in the Centre and the state, and such statements from them are not acceptable to us. Even Congress or any Opposition party has not criticised Modi like the Shiv Sena has in the last ten days."

Devendra Fadnavis has begun addressing the media after submitting his resignation as the chief minister of Maharashtra on Friday.

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.

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 08:47PM

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