President's Rule in Maharashtra Updates: 'Form govt even now if you have numbers,' Amit Shah tells Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena - LiveNow24x7: Latest News, breaking news, 24/7 news,live news

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Thursday, 14 November 2019

President's Rule in Maharashtra Updates: 'Form govt even now if you have numbers,' Amit Shah tells Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena

22:46 (IST)

Sanjay Raut clarifies that NCP, Shiv Sena talks are still in progress

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday sought to clarify that the NCP and Shiv Sena have not finalised on a deal for a possible coalition yet. He said, "Rumours being floated that shivsena president Uddhav Thackeray had meeting with Ahmed Patel and we have come to some sort of settlement, on behalf of Uddhav Thackeray let me clarify that this is untrue and being deliberately spread,our talks with Congress and NCP are in process."

22:38 (IST)

NCP, Congress leaders discuss common minimum programme in meeting

NCP leaders Jayant Patil, Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal, Dhananjay Munde, and Nawab Malik along with Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat, Prithaviraj Chavan, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan, Manikrao Thakre, and Vijay Wadettiwar are currently in a meeting to discuss the Common Minimum Programme. 

22:25 (IST)

Shiv Sena tells MLAs to return to constituencies

The Shiv Sena on Wednesday sent back its MLAs who had been staying at the Retreat Hotel in Mumbai. Talking to News18-Lokmat, Sena leader Sunil Prabhu said that the MLAs had been asked to return to their constituencies to attend to farmers who had been affected due to unseasonal rains.

21:32 (IST)

Senior NCP and Congress leaders attend meeting in Mumbai

NCP leaders Jayant Patil, Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal, Dhananjay Munde, Nawab Malik and Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat, Prithaviraj Chavan, Sushilkumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan, Manikrao Thakre, Vijay Wadettiwar are attending a meeting to decide on a common minimum programme, reports ANI.

21:00 (IST)

Shiv Sena spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi tweets

20:43 (IST)

Sharad Pawar to meet farmers in Nagpur on Thursday

 

Amid discussions for government formation in Maharahtra, NCP chief Sharad Pawar will meet farmers in Nagpur district whose crop was damaged during unseasonal rains on Thursday, reports PTI.
   

Pawar will meet farmers in Katol taluka on Thursday. On Friday, he will address a press conference in Nagpur and also attend a seminar before leaving for Pune via Mumbai, a party communication said on Wednesday.
   

The Congress and NCP leaders held hectic parleys to work out a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for government formation, a day after President's Rule was imposed in Maharashtra.

20:37 (IST)

NCP-Congress meeting underway in Mumbai

 

The meeting between Congress and NCP is underway in Mumbai, NCP leader Jitendra Awhad told ANI.

20:17 (IST)

Balasaheb Thorat tells Congress MLAs to visit farmers

Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat on Wednesday asked newly-elected MLAs of his party who returned from Jaipur to work for the cause of
farmers whose crops were damaged during unseasonal rains, reports PTI.

 
"In the absence of government the MLAs should visit farmers and ensure they receive financial aid," he said. Thorat alleged a delay in disbursing of financial
relief to farmers even though loss assessment is completed.
 
 
The then BJP government had announced a Rs 10,000-crore special assistance for farmers whose crop was hit by unseasonal rains.

20:13 (IST)

NCP wrote letter to governor, expressed inability to form govt: Amit Shah

 

BJP chief Amit Shah also took a dig at the Congress over its allegations that the President's Rule was imposed in a hurry and its ally NCP was not given enough time to show the majority.  "Probably they do not ask their allies," he said.

Shah told ANI that between 11.30 am and 12 noon on Tuesday, the NCP had expressed its inability to form the government by writing a letter to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, claiming that they cannot form government till the time given of 8.30 pm.

"After that, there was no point of the president waiting till 8.30 pm," he said.

19:49 (IST)

No state was given as much time as Maharashtra: Amit Shah

 

Claiming that no state had been given 18 days to form government, BJP chief Amit Shah said that if any party having the requisite numbers can approach the governor to stake claim.

"Before this, in no state was so much time given,18 days were given. Governor invited parties only after Assembly tenure ended. Neither Shiv Sena nor Congress-NCP staked claim and neither did we (BJP). Even today, if any party has numbers, it can approach the governor, " Shah told ANI.

19:27 (IST)

BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar meets RSS chief

 

Senior Maharashtra BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar on Wednesday evening met with RSS chief Mohan Bhagawat at the Sangh headquarter in Mahal area of Nagpur, sources told PTI.

 
Apart from Bhagwat, Mungantiwar also met Sangh general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi to invite them for the wedding of his daughter, sources said. When reporters outside the Sangh headquarter sought his reaction on the current political situation in the state, the BJP leader only said, "..Wait and watch".

19:15 (IST)

Form govt even now if you have numbers: Amit Shah to Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena

BJP president Amit Shah questioned the Shiv Sena why it didn't raise objections to BJP's statement before the election that Devendra Fadnavis will be the chief minister.

"Before elections, the prime minister and I said many times in public that if our alliance wins then Devendra Fadnavis will be the CM, no one objected back then. Now they have come up with new demands which are not acceptable to us," he told ANI.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Shah also accused the Opposition of playing politics over government formation in Maharashtra while rejecting claims that the Maharashtra governor acted unconstitutionally by recommending President's Rule in Maharashtra.

"Even today if anyone has the numbers they can approach the Governor. The Governor has not denied chance to anyone. A learned lawyer like Kapil Sibal is putting forth childish arguments like ‘we were denied a chance to form Govt’," he said.

19:00 (IST)

No talk on power-sharing yet, finalising Common Minimum Programme first priority, says Prithviraj Chavan

Talks of government formation between Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena will start only after top leaders of the three parties approve a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) which is in the works, senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said on Wednesday.

"We will meet the Shiv Sena leadership in one or two days," he said, adding that the draft (CMP) will have to be approved by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP president Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray before talks on government formation can begin.

Chavan also maintained that power-sharing formula was not being discussed now, rejecting the speculation that the Congress may get the posts of deputy chief minister and Assembly speaker in the new arrangement.


"Sonia Gandhi might reject the (CMP) draft. (So) Where is the question of discussing power-sharing now?" he said.


State Congress leaders were meeting at Chavan's office in Mumbai on Wednesday evening, and they will meet the five-member panel set up by the NCP to discuss the CMP, he said.

— PTI

18:43 (IST)

 Up to Sena to fit 'Hindutva' agenda in CMP with Congress, says BJP

"It is up to the Shiv Sena how to fit their 'Hindutva' agenda in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) with the Congress," senior BJP leader and Union minister Raosaheb Danve said on Wednesday, reports PTI.

"The Congress, which is a 150-year-old party, will obviously take its agenda further (in government)," he told a news channel.

18:30 (IST)

Would prevent `Operation lotus' in Maharashtra: Congress' Prithviraj Chavan

Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday said that the party was on alert to prevent a possible "Operation lotus" — attempts by the BJP to engineer defections from other parties —  in Maharashtra, reports PTI.

Chavan, a former chief minister, alleged while speaking to a news channel that the BJP was trying to stop the Sena from joining hands with the Congress and NCP. "We are alert about `Operation lotus'," he said.

 
 
He was referring to BJP leader Narayan Rane's​ statement on Tuesday that former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had asked Rane to start work on forming a BJP-led​ government in the state.

18:26 (IST)

NCP leaders meet at Sharad Pawar's residence

Senior NCP leaders, including Ajit Pawar and Jayant Patil have reached Silver Oaks, Sharad Pawar's Mumbai residence, to discuss modalities of government formation and iron out a common minimum programme, reported News18-Lokmat.

NCP leaders are scheduled to meet senior Congress leaders later in the evening. 

17:49 (IST)

Congress MLAs return to Mumbai from Jaipur

A day after President's rule was imposed in Maharashtra, Congress MLAs who were camping at a resort in Jaipur for the last five days returned to Mumbai on Wednesday, reports PTI.

The MLAs have been asked to return home, said a legislator, adding that the state Congress leadership had told them that they would be informed about further decisions of the party next week.

All 44 Congress MLAs in the state have "Congress in their blood" and nobody can poach them, he said.

17:43 (IST)

Congress to meet in Mumbai to discuss 'common minimum programme', reports News18

News18 reports that a Congress meeting will begin soon in Mumbai to discuss a 'common minimum programme' (CMP). The party will hold talks about the CMP and then discuss it the NCP in subsequent meetings.

17:32 (IST)

Governor has brought instability by recommending President's Rule in Maharashtra: Ashok Gehlot

"The governor has brought instability instead of stability by (recommending) President's rule in Maharashtra," Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot told reporters at the Congress office in Jaipur. 

 
"Maharashtra is an important state and if there is a situation of hung Assembly, then it is the governor's duty to handle it and ensure formation of a stable government," the chief minister said and termed Governor Bhagat Sing Koshyari's recommendation for President's rule a "bad decision". 
 

Maha guv has brought instability by recommending President's rule: Gehlot

16:59 (IST)

Joining hands with Shiv Sena will dent Congress’ image in Maharashtra and nationally: Sanjay Nirupam


"The Shiv Sena and the Congress are ideologically different. The Sena is a hardcore Hindutva party, and we are a hardcore secular party. The two parties differ on many issues that need to be sorted out before aligning with the Sena. The question, however, is whether the Shiv Sena is ready to shed its Hindutva ideology? Joining hands with the Shiv Sena will create everyday problems as far as ideological differences are concerned, " Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam told The Print.

"In the current situation, if any mid-term polls take place, the voter’s anger will be against the Sena and the BJP. However, if by forming the government with the NCP and the Shiv Sena, the Congress still fails to provide a stable government, it will lose public support in the next Assembly elections."

"Joining hands with the Shiv Sena will dent Congress’ image in Maharashtra and nationally," he said.

16:29 (IST)

Maharashtra ministries asked to handover files to GAD

 
 
A day after President's Rule came into force in Maharashtra, the ministries have been ordered to hand over possessions to the General Administrative Department (GAD) by Wednesday evening, reported PTI.
 
The GAD order is applicable to all ministries, OSDs​ (Officers on Special Duty) working for ministers, personal secretaries and personal assistants.They are directed to submit telephone bills and return identity cards issued to them to the GAD, the order stated. They are also told to return official files, confidential documents, office stationary, furniture etc.

16:12 (IST)

Congress-NCP likely to hold talks in Delhi in next few days to work on possible tie-up with Shiv Sena 

The Congress and NCP are likely to hold meetings in Delhi in next three to four days to work out modalities of their possible tie-up with the Shiv Sena to
form government in Maharashtra.
 
Sources said on Wednesday that NCP chief Sharad Pawar, and senior party leaders Praful Patel and Sunil Tatkare are likely to hold parleys with the Congress to evolve a consensus on what should be the policies if the Shiv Sena is to be backed to form government.
 
"The Congress president (Sonia Gandhi) will take a call on who will discuss these issues with the NCP on our party's behalf. The discussions are likely to be held in Delhi over the next three to four days," a senior Congress leader told PTI on condition of anonymity.
 
The leader reiterated that the Congress and NCP will first work out details of the 'common minimum programme' (CMP) at their level before the Shiv Sena comes into picture.
 
PTI 

15:40 (IST)

Visuals from Udhhav Thackeray's meet with Congress leaders 

15:37 (IST)

Talks over Maharashtra govt formation progressing in 'right direction', says Uddhav Thackeray 

Shiv Sena president Uddhav​ Thackeray met Maharashtra Congress leaders in Mumbai on Wednesday and said talks over government formation in the state were progressing in the "right direction" and a decision will be taken at an appropriate time.
 
Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat, however, dubbed the meet with Thackeray as a "courtesy call", and said the fact that they were meeting was itself a "positive" step.
 
Thackeray held talks with Thorat, former state chief minister Ashok Chavan and senior Congress leader Manikrao Thakre at a suburban hotel. The meeting, which took place a day after President's Rule was imposed in the state, lasted for about an hour.
 
"Everything is going fine. Talks are on in the right direction and a decision will be announced at an appropriate time," Thackeray told reporters as he came out of the hotel after meeting the Congress leaders.
 
PTI 

15:08 (IST)

Maharashtra Congress MLAs leave for Mumbai from Jaipur


Maharashtra Congress MLAs, who had been camping at a resort in Jaipur for the last five days amid political impasse in their state, left for Mumbai on Wednesday.


The MLAs, who were holed up at the luxury resort located close to the Delhi-Jaipur national highway, left the property in a bus to the airport, from where they will travel to Mumbai in a chartered flight.

During their stay at Pili Ki Talai, the MLAs were frequented by many party leaders to discuss the political situation in Maharashtra. "Our newly elected MLAs of Maharashtra were staying here for the last five days. The stay was very comfortable and they were happy with the hospitality of Rajasthan," AICC general secretary Avinash Pande told reporters.

14:37 (IST)

Congress leaders meet Uddhav Thackeray to discuss common minimum programme


Congress leaders from Maharashtra met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray today to discuss the modalities of a 'common minimum programme' (CMP) for a possible alliance to form government in the state.
 

Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat, former state chief minister Ashok Chavan and senior party leader Manikrao Thakare held talks with Thackeray at a suburban hotel. Before their meeting with Thackeray, the three Congress leaders also met Shiv Sena MP and spokesman Sanjay Raut at the Lilavati hospital in Mumbai.

"Everything is going fine. Talks are on in the right direction and a decision will be announced at an appropriate time," Thackeray told reporters after the meeting.
 
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel also met Thackeray late Tuesday night.

14:28 (IST)

Congress will play role in govt formation while maintaining its principles, says Avinash Pande


AICC general secretary Avinash Pande said the Congress will play its "role" in the government formation in Maharashtra with the Shiv Sena and the NCP while maintaining its core principles and values and on the basis of a common minimum programme.
 

"People in Maharashtra have given a fractured mandate and a coalition government is needed there. We have held discussions on how the Congress can play its role in the government formation," Pande told reporters in a resort near Delhi Road where the Maharashtra Congress MLAs have been staying since Friday.
 
Pande said senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and KC Venugopal held discussions with Thackeray and Pawar in Mumbai on Tuesday and it was decided that whatever discussions have to be held for the government formation will be completed in one or two days.

PTI

14:18 (IST)

BJP allies SAD, JD(U) seek respect, better coordination


After the alliance partners BJP and Shiv Sena failed to come together to form a government in Maharashtra, key NDA allies in Bihar and Punjab are demanding respect and better coordination from the saffron party, The Economic Times reported.

The Janata Dal (United) in Bihar and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab voiced their dissatisfaction after the political scenarios witnessed in Maharashtra and Jharkhand. 

“It would have been better if BJP, JDU, LJP and others had contested elections as an alliance force in Jharkhand. It looks like there is no cohesiveness in the alliance. Forming a coordination committee is an old thing which we have been saying for long. There should be a forum or platform where we can share our views both ideological and political,” JDU secretary general KC Tyagi told the Economic Times, adding that instead of being a National Democratic Alliance, the BJP seems to have different relations with difference parties.

Meanwhile, SAD leader and Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral recalled the time when the SAD and Sena stood by the BJP, when the saffron party did not have other allies. “It doesn’t mean that when you get absolute majority you start treating your allies as lesser partners. Every alliance partner wishes to be treated with respect and equality,” he said.

13:43 (IST)

Will Congress join hands with an unnatural ally for a taste of power?


Having been handed a defeat in the Maharashtra Assembly polls, and being at the receiving end of a drubbing in the April-May Lok Sabha polls, the political crisis in the state was a ray of hope for the Congress to be among the parties in power.

Even as allies Congress and NCP stick together while considering an alliance with the Shiv Sena, an unnatural ally, committees from both the parties are already deliberating a common minimum programme to work out a formula to end the recently-imposed President’s Rule and form a government together.

The Congress and Shiv Sena, if they ally, will be coming together after three decades.

13:24 (IST)

Devendra Fadnavis changes Twitter bio


Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday changed his Twitter profile bio and described himself as 'Maharashtra's Sevak'.

Earlier, after resigning on 8 November, Fadnavis had updated his Twitter bio, changing it to 'caretaker chief minister' from 'Chief Minister'.

13:16 (IST)

NCP constitutes panel to deliberate on common minimum programme


Shortly after Congress announced the formation of a committee to hold talks on the common minimum programme ahead of a possible alliance in Maharashtra, NCP constituted a similar panel.

NCP's legislature party head Ajit Pawar, its Maharashtra chief Jayant Patil, party veteran Chhagan Bhujbal, Mumbai unit president Nawab Malik and Leader of the Opposition in state Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde will be part of the committee.

The panel was formed after NCP chief Sharad Pawar and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel met on Tuesday and expressed the need to have a common minimum programme (CMP) before working out the possibility of a tie-up with the Shiv Sena.

With President's rule imposed in Maharashtra on Tuesday, the NCP and Congress are holding parleys on whether they can have a tie-up with the Shiv Sena to form an alternative government in the state.

12:57 (IST)

Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut discharged from hospital


Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut was discharged from Lilavati Hospital, two days after being hospitalised over complaints of chest pain. While leaving from the hospital, he expressed confidence that the next chief minister will be from the Sena.

Earlier in the day, he was called upon by Congress leaders.

12:45 (IST)

Congress committee to discuss Common Minimum Programme with NCP


Congress has set up a committee of Maharashtra leaders for talks on Common Minimum Programme with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) before forming a possible alliance with the Shiv Sena, ANI reported.. The committee includes Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan, Manikrao Thakre, Balasaheb Thorat and Vijay Wadettiwar.

12:33 (IST)

BJP treads a lonely path


Despite being the single-largest party in Maharashtra with 105 seats, BJP had to tread a lonely path owing to the disagreements over the alliance formula with Shiv Sena. Even though the alliance has not been officially ended, the lone Sena minister in the Union Cabinet resigned earlier this week.

With the imposition of President’s Rule bring the Centre’s power to Maharashtra, the BJP indirectly has a helm over the state now, until fresh elections are declared, the President’s Rule ends or parties bring together numbers to form a government.

12:16 (IST)

Sanjay Raut's agneepath tweet denotes struggles lying ahead of Shiv Sena


Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday tweeted the word 'agneepath' three times, apparently to indicate difficult path ahead for his party in its efforts to form government in Maharashtra with the Congress and NCP, its political rivals till recently.​

Raut, who on Tuesday quoted poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan to reaffirm his party's resolve to succeed and not give up, on Wednesday tweeted: "Agneepath, agneepath, agneepath..."(path of fire), without elaborating.

12:06 (IST)

Maharashtra should get a govt before the year ends, says Ajit Pawar


Talking to reporters in Mumbai, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said that in a meeting of MLAs also attended by Sharad Pawar, Supriya Sule, Jayant Patil and Praful Patel, it was agreed upon that a government "should be formed as early as possible". "Even I think that before the new year begins, Maharashtra should get a government," he said.

11:56 (IST)

Jayant Patil, BalasahebThorat to discuss the path ahead


The NCP had given a letter to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari seeking an extension of three days as Congress leaders were not in Mumbai. "We wanted more time for the entire procedure (formation of govt)," party leader Ajit Pawar told reporters.

"Shiv Sena's manifesto was different, so we'll have an understanding with Congress first and then go ahead with discussions on Shiv Sena," he added.

Pawar added that NCP leader Jayant Patil will call president of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee Balasaheb Thorat  for further discussions between the parties and discuss the dates from which they can have a joint discussions on how to go ahead.

11:20 (IST)

Is the NCP in the driver's seat? 

Sharad Pawar seems to be in the driving seat as far as the proposed NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress alliance goes. With 54 seats, the NCP is also expected to bargain for a rotational chief minister's post between itself and the Shiv Sena, if the parties manage to cobble up a coalition government amid President's Rule being imposed in the state. The Congress is expected to have a deputy CM.

Claim to power: If all works out, NCP may emerge as king and kingmaker in Maharashtra, but it must perfect a common minimum programme which will please both the Sena electorate and Congress-NCP vote bank.

10:56 (IST)

Not filing fresh petition in SC today, says Shiv Sena's lawyer 

Sunil Fernandes, Shiv Sena's advocate said that the NDA ally will not file a fresh petition in the Supreme Court on Wednesday and that the decision on when to file it hasn't been taken yet.

"Decision on when to file it hasn't been taken yet. No mention of yesterday's petition against Maharashtra Governor's decision to decline giving the Shiv Sena three days to submit the letter of support, has also been taken." 

10:46 (IST)

Where does Shiv Sena stand now?

Jilted by the BJP, Shiv Sena is testing waters with the Opposition – NCP and Congress. For now, Shiv Sena is waiting patiently on the sidelines for the Congress and NCP to hash out an offer for an alliance.

Claim to power: With 56 seats in the House, Shiv Sena is crucial for power to any alliance staking a claim. But its condition is delicate as it seeks claim to the chief ministerial post for at least half the term.

10:37 (IST)

Visuals of Nationalist Congress Party ​(NCP) leaders Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar and other leaders arriving at YB Chavan centre in Mumbai

10:32 (IST)

Why President's Rule is imposed in Maharashtra? 

President’s Rule has been imposed in Maharashtra for the third time now since the state came into existence in May, 1960. However, this is the first time that it has been imposed after the political parties failed to coordinate and get majority support to stake claim to form government after the state Assembly elections were conducted in 21 October. 

10:15 (IST)

Shiv Sena won't press for urgent hearing in SC, willing to wait for support of letters from NCP and Congress: claims report

Drawing back from its previous claim about filing new plea in Supreme Court, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday said it is not seeking an urgent hearing in the apex court, CNN-News18 reported. 

It was also reported that the party will file new petition only after letters of support from the NCP and Congress. 

10:06 (IST)

NCP leaders to be briefed at 10 am to discuss about Tuesday's meeting with Congress: Ajit Pawar 

Confirming that there was a clear discussion between NCP's Sharad Pawar, Congress' Ahmed Patel and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP leader Ajit Pawar told CNN-News18, "We told our MLAs that they can go to their constituencies if they need to. However, most of them said they will be staying in Mumbai. So, the party chief Sharad Pawar will brief the MLAs regarding what was discussed between the NCP and the Congress during the meeting held on Tuesday. We also need to discuss what will be the powers of the elected MLAs under President’s Rule.

09:47 (IST)

President's Rule could be averted if BJP kept its promise on 50:50 formula: Shiv Sena blames saffron party for political stalemate in Maharashtra 

The Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece Saamana took a potshot at the BJP on Wednesday for allowing President's Rule to be imposed in Maharashtra and said the situation could have been averted had the saffron party kept on its promise.

"The mandate has been given to both the parties. The policy that the two put together has got this mandate. The BJ were not ready to accept this, that is why we had to take this step to maintain the pride of the land of Maharashtra," the NDA ally said in it editorial. 

"Why should anyone blame us for this? It is said that the Bharatiya Janata Party is a party with elements, morals and rituals, so in the context of Maharashtra, they should have followed the same elements and rituals. The situation would not have been avoided if the BJP had kept its promise," it added.

09:35 (IST)

RECAP | 'No hurry to call it quits with BJP': Uddhav Thackeray as saffron party claims Devendra Fadnavis making efforts to form govt 

Amid the political stalemate in Maharashtra with Uddhav Thackeray entering into talks with Maha-agadhi allies – Nationalist Congress Party and Congress – to back Shiv Sena in forming government, the pre-poll alliance between the BJP and Shiv Sena looks precarious despite both parties formally refusing to call it quits.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday after the President's Rule was imposed in the state, Thackeray said, "We have six months' time, what's the hurry to call it quits. Six months is a long time in politics and a lot can happen. Even if the alliance looks like it has ended, it is the doing of BJP, not us. They didn't stick to their promises."

A similar sentiment was echoed by BJP leader Narayan Rane when he said, "The BJP will try to form government. Devendra Fadnavis is putting in all efforts in this direction. I think NCP-Congress are trying to make a fool out of Shiv Sena."

09:32 (IST)

Second plea against imposition of President's Rule likely on cards, says report 

A second petition will likely be filed in the Supreme Court against the imposition of the President's Rule in Maharashtra on Wednesday, CNN-News18 reported. 

The state government will be asked to file affidavits in response to the petitions. 

The first plea filed by the Shiv Sena challenged the Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's refusal to extend deadline for government formation even after Shiv Sena expressed its willingness to form the government and was waiting for the letters of support from the NCP-Congress combine. 

09:20 (IST)

BJP may indulge in horse-trading to form govt in Maharashtra, alleges Digvijaya Singh after Guv imposes President's Rule 

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Tuesday expressed apprehension that the BJP may indulge in horse-trading to form government in Maharashtra after imposing the President's Rule there.

He expressed the apprehension, alleging that the decision to impose the President Rule in the state has been taken under duress from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah 

"Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had invited the third largest party, the National Congress Party, for the government formation in the state. The time limit for it was to end at 8.30pm on Tuesday, but the governor made a recommendation for imposing the President's Rule even before the expiry of that time limit," Singh told reporters in Lucknow.

This cannot be termed as right in democracy, he said. 

09:05 (IST)

Governor gave NCP less than 16 hours before announcing President's Rule


The single largest party in Maharashtra – the BJP – withdrew from the race for government formation on 9 November. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari then invited the second largest party Shiv Sena to form the government, giving them 24 hours. The Shiv Sena, failing to get the requisite letters of support, requested the governor for an extension of the dealine, which was denied.

The NCP was then called to stake claim, but as the possibility of the party getting enough support to form the government seemed to fade as the day progressed, the Governor recommended President’s Rule in Maharashtra, which was approved by the Union Cabinet and President Ram Nath Kovind.

The governor announced his decision without exhausting all possibilities to provide a stable government to the state and without waiting for the NCP to hold dicussions till the stipulated deadline.

The Sena got only 24 hours and the NCP less than 16 hours to attempt to form a government. While their failure to get letters of support would have eventually led to the imposition of President’s Rule, the due course would have been followed, putting to rest the questions raised on the governor’s partiality.

08:34 (IST)

Maharashtra Congress MLAs to return to Mumbai from Jaipur


According to CNN-News18, the Maharashtra Congress MLAs, who were staying at luxury resort in Jaipur, are likely to return to Mumbai at 12.30 pm. The lawmakers were made to stay at the resort to avoid poaching attempts.

President's Rule in Maharashtra LATEST Updates:  BJP president Amit Shah questioned the Shiv Sena why it didn't raise objections before the election when the party had said that Devendra Fadnavis will be the chief minister.

"Before elections, the prime minister and I said many times in public that if our alliance wins then Devendra Fadnavis will be the CM, no one objected back then. Now they have come up with new demands which are not acceptable to us," he told ANI.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Shah also accused the Opposition of playing politics over government formation in Maharashtra while rejecting claims that the Maharashtra governor acted unconstitutionally by recommending President's Rule in Maharashtra.

"Even today if anyone has the numbers they can approach the Governor. The Governor has not denied chance to anyone. A learned lawyer like Kapil Sibal is putting forth childish arguments like ‘we were denied a chance to form Govt’," he said.

Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday said that the party was on alert to prevent a possible "Operation lotus" — attempts by the BJP to engineer defections from other parties —  in Maharashtra, reports PTI. 

Chavan, a former chief minister, alleged while speaking to a news channel that the BJP was trying to stop the Sena from joining hands with the Congress and NCP. "We are alert about `Operation lotus'," he said.

He also said that no talk on power-sharing has begun yet while maintaining that the Congress, NCP and Sena are focussing on finalising the Common Minimum Programme.

A day after President's rule was imposed in Maharashtra, Congress MLAs who were camping at a resort in Jaipur for the last five days returned to Mumbai on Wednesday, reports PTI.

The MLAs have been asked to return home, said a legislator, adding that the state Congress leadership had told them that they would be informed about further decisions of the party next week.

All 44 Congress MLAs in the state have "Congress in their blood" and nobody can poach them, he said.

"The Shiv Sena and the Congress are ideologically different. The Sena is a hardcore Hindutva party, and we are a hardcore secular party," Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam told The Print.

"Joining hands with the Shiv Sena will dent Congress’ image in Maharashtra and nationally," he said.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav​ Thackeray met Maharashtra Congress leaders in Mumbai on Wednesday and said talks over government formation in the state were progressing in the "right direction" and a decision will be taken at an appropriate time.

Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat, however, dubbed the meet with Thackeray as a "courtesy call", and said the fact that they were meeting was itself a "positive" step.

Thackeray held talks with Thorat, former state chief minister Ashok Chavan and senior Congress leader Manikrao Thakre at a suburban hotel. The meeting, which took place a day after President's Rule was imposed in the state, lasted for about an hour.

Sunil Fernandes, Shiv Sena's advocate said that the NDA ally will not file a fresh petition in the Supreme Court on Wednesday and that the decision on when to file it hasn't been taken yet.

"Decision on when to file it hasn't been taken yet. No mention of yesterday's petition against Maharashtra Governor's decision to decline giving the Shiv Sena three days to submit the letter of support, has also been taken."

Drawing back from its previous claim about filing new plea in Supreme Court, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday said it is not seeking an urgent hearing in the apex court, CNN-News18 reported.

It was also reported that the party will file new petition only after letters of support from the NCP and Congress.

The Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece Saamana took a potshot at the BJP on Wednesday for allowing President's Rule to be imposed in Maharashtra and said the situation could have been averted had the saffron party kept on its promise.

"The mandate has been given to both the parties. The policy that the two put together has got this mandate. The BJ were not ready to accept this, that is why we had to take this step to maintain the pride of the land of Maharashtra," the NDA ally said in it editorial.

"Why should anyone blame us for this? It is said that the Bharatiya Janata Party is a party with elements, morals and rituals, so in the context of Maharashtra, they should have followed the same elements and rituals. The situation would not have been avoided if the BJP had kept its promise," it added.

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi slammed Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for recommending a President's Rule in the state.

BJP leader Sudhir Mugantiwar spoke to the media after the party's core committee meeting on Tuesday and said that the situation of President's Rule in the state was "definitely not expected".

He said, "President's rule is definitely something we did not expect. We will certainly try to ensure that people's mandate is respected. We will try to form a stable government. We will stand by the people of the state."

Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis issued a press note after the President's Rule was imposed in the state on Tuesday. "President's rule is unfortunate but we expect that Maharashtra will get a stable government soon," he said.

His statement was echoed by BJP leader Narayan Rane who said, "The BJP will try to form government. Devendra Fadnavis is putting in all efforts in this direction. I think NCP-Congress are trying to make a fool out of Shiv Sena."

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray took a jibe at Maharashtra governor's recommendation to impose President's Rule in the state, and the subsequent imposition after approval from Ram Nath Kovind, and said that the governor was so "considerate" that he had given the party six months "to work out modalities with the Congress and NCP." Six months is the stipulated time under a President's Rule situation.

The party had on Monday asked the governor for a period of 48 hours to stake claim to form the government, which was rejected. Taking a potshot at the governor, he said, "The Maharashtra governor is perhaps the most considerate in the whole country, who has given us a time of six months instead of 48 hours."

"After expressing willingness to form the government, we asked for more time because as the Congress and NCP wanted clarity on some issues, even we wanted clarity on some issues. Some sections are raising questions about parties of different ideologies coming together, but if it happened in Jammu and Kashmir between the PDP and BJP, and in other states, we are also exploring options here," Uddhav said.

"I didn't understand the logic behind the governor's decision, but now we have been given a lot of time to hold talks so we will finalise common minimum programme first," he added.

"The governor invited the BJP, the biggest party, to form the government. But when the party said it couldn't form the government, we got a letter within the time frame given to the BJP, that we must express willingness to form the government,"

"After the Congress and NCP press conference, it is an indisputed fact that the Shiv Sena communicated with the Opposition alliance to request support to form the government," Uddhav said.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel said that the imposition of President's Rule in Maharashtra was "anti-democratic", and also noted that Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had not called the Congress to form the government, despite being the fourth largest party in the state.

"The way President's rule was recommended, I condemn it. This government has violated the SC guidelines on President's rule on several occasions in in the last 5 years," he said.

"The governor is making fun of the Constitution," the alliance partners were quoted as saying by CNN-News18.

We will not form an alliance in haste, Patel added, saying that the party will hold further discussions and consult the NCP over the future course of action. "We also need to work out the common minimum programme," he said.

Congress and NCP are currently briefing the media on the meeting held between the two parties on Tuesday. NCP leader Praful Patel said that the parties will issue a joint statement.

"The Shiv Sena for the first time communicated with the Congress and NCP on 11 November (yesterday). After today's meeting, we need to hold further discussion. The two parties will come to a consensus after more discussion on the political situation in the state," Praful Patel said.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel said that the imposition of President's Rule in Maharashtra was "anti-democratic", and also noted that Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had not called the Congress to form the government, despite being the fourth largest party in the state.

The Supreme Court registry on Tuesday said that it had informed the Shiv Sena regarding its petition challenging Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's refusal to extend the deadline to the party to stake claim to form the government in the state.

The registry is likely to mention the matter on Wednesdat at 10.30 am as it is not possible to constitute a bench on Tuesday, Bar and Bench reported. "The second petition challenging the imposition of President Rule is likely to be filed tomorrow," the report said.

Reports said that the meeting between allies NCP and Congress in Mumbai has ended. According to India Today, the Sharad Pawar-led party has proposed for its alliance partner to have the deputy chief minister's post for five years while insisting that the party joins the coalition government between NCP and Shiv Sena.

The NCP is also expected to bargain for a rotational chief minister's post between itself and the Shiv Sena, if the parties manage to cobble up a coalition government amid President's Rule being imposed in the state.

Reports also said that Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel, and KC Venugopal in the meeting with Sharad Pawar have demanded a common minimum programme.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has outlined the conditions of President's Rule that has been imposed in Maharashtra on the governor's recommendation, and said that as per protocol, the directive will only be valid for six months.

"The President's Rule can be withdrawn if any party can prove majority," the statement was quoted as saying by reports. The statement also said that the decision was taken after the Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's recommendation because he claimed that a stable government couldn't be formed in the state.

India Today and CNN-News18 reported that President Ram Nath Kovind has approved Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's recommendation for President's Rule in Maharashtra.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has sent the file on Maharashtra Governor's recommendation to impose President's Rule in the state to President Ram Nath Kovind for his assent. Reportedly, Kovind is travelling and is set to return to the National Capital at 5 pm today.

Reports also said that Kovind is set to take a decision on the situation shortly.

Senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, KC Venugopal, Ahmed Patel, authorised by party interim president Sonia Gandhi to work out a power-sharing equation with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), have arrived in Mumbai.

The meeting between Congress and NCP is scheduled for 5 pm.

Congress leaders Sanjay Nirupam and Randeep Surjewala criticised Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's recommendation that President's Rule be imposed in Maharashtra, in the absence of a government in the state even two weeks after the Assembly election results were announced.

However, leaders from the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena have accused the governor of "unconstitutionally" declining enough time to the second and third largest parties to stake a claim.

Nirupam said, "The imposition of President Rule in Maharashtra was decided long ago.But Hon Governer should have waited till 8.30 tonight before sending report to Centre. Because he only had fixed this deadline with NCP as last option to form the government. Prima facie it looks illegal and unconstitutional now."

Meanwhile, Surjewala said that the governor had "committed a grave travesty of the democracy and made a mockery of the Constitutional process" in reccomending President’s Rule in Maharashtra.

Shiv Sena has sought an urgent hearing in the case agains bid to impose President's Rule in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena said, "Governor wrongfully declined to give three days time". Shiv Sena MLA Anil Parab is a co-petitioner in the case. However, the Supreme Court has not said anything about hearing the case on an urgent basis.

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Tuesday recommended President's rule in the state. An important executive development was mired in confusion as media outlets, including state-run Prasar Bharti and Doordarshan leaked the news citing sources. Meanwhile, several journalists quoted Raj Bhavan Spokesperson to negate the reports. The confusion cleared up only when the Raj Bhavan confirmed recommendation of President's Rule at its official handle.

Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari confirmed on the Raj Bhavan's official Twitter handle having recommended the President's Rule. He said that his actions were as per the law.

Confusion over President Rule in Maharashtra prevails as conflicting reports continue to filer in. PTI cited sources to claim that Cabinet has recommended President's Rule in Maharashtra. Meanwhile several journalists, along with NCP leader Ajit Pawar claimed Raj Bhavan officials have denied such a claim.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the governor has already sent the recommendation to impose President's Rule in Maharashtra and Shiv Sena leaders are already reacting to the media reports. Party leader Priyanka Chaturvedi asked on Twitter that how can the governor defy his own deadline of 8.30 pm given to NCP to form government.

Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said that the party is in no hurry to form the government and will wait for the Congress' decision. "We (Congress and NCP) contested together and we remain together," he said.

Sources told CNN-News18 that NCP wants both the Shiv Sena and Congress on board, instead of getting 'outside support'. If the three parties come together, the chief minister will be from the Shiv Sena. Senior Congress leaders KC Venugopal and Mallikarjun Kharge, who were supposed to visit Mumbai to discuss modalities of support to the Shiv Sena for government formation in Maharashtra, have deferred their visit, Congress' Manikrao Thakre told PTI.

President Ram Nath Kovind accepted Arvind Sawant's resignation on Tuesday. Prakash Javadekar has been given additional charge of the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

Meanwhile, Congress' Sanjay Nirupam blamed the BJP and Shiv Sena for bringing Maharashtra to the "doorstep of President's Rule". He said holding Congress responsible for the instability the state is witnessing currently is meaningless.

The Bharatiya Janata Party's core group will meet again today to discuss the political situation in Maharashtra as the route to Sena-NCP-Congress alliance no longer appears as smooth as the Maratha party was letting on until Monday morning. The Congress has said it is yet to make up its mind on government formation, and no alternate alliance is possible without the grand old party's support.

Congress and Nationalist Congress Party will hold discussions over government today at 2 pm. The two parties are mulling to support a Shiv Sena-led government. However, they haven't come to a decision yet.

Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, issuing a statement on inviting the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the government in the state, said, "Despite the passage of 16 days, no single party or alliance of parties has come forward with requisite letter of support from alliance partners to form the government."

BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar on Monday weighed in on the tumultous political situation in Maharashtra as the Shiv Sena and NCP made frenzied attempts on Monday to cobble together a coalition government. After the meeting of senior BJP leaders, Mungantiwar said, "The BJP core team meeting has concluded. The political situation in the state was discussed in the meeting. On its basis, BJP is taking the stand of 'wait and watch'."

A delegation of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has reached the Raj Bhavan for a meeting with Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari after reports claimed that the authority had invited the Sharad Pawar-led party to stake claim to form the government.

"At 8.30 pm, the Governor called us and asked me to come to meet him. Along with Chhagan Bhujbal, Jayant Patil and others, I am going to meet him. We have no idea as to why did he call us. Governor is an important person so we are going to meet him."

NCP leader Ajit Pawar spoke to the media soon after reports claimed that the Maharashtra governor has invited the NCP to stake the claim to form the government in the state. Pawar said that a delegation of party leaders, including Chhagan Bhujbal, is going to meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

He also said, "We dont know why we are being invited to form the government, I don't know the agenda, we are going to talk to the governor now."

Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Monday kept the ball rolling in the political situation in Maharashtra and has invited the Sharad Pawar-led NCP to form govt after the Shiv Sena failed to prove the support from other parties, says report.

Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari on Monday issued a statement clarifying that the Shiv Sena's demand for an extention of the deadline to stake claim to form the government was rejected because the party hadn't been able to provide the "requisite letters of support" from the Congress and NCP.

"A delegation of the Shiv Sena met the Governor and expressed its willingness to form the government. However, they couldn't submit the requisite letters of support.They submitted a letter requesting a three-day extension for submitting the letters of support. The Governor has expressed inability to give further extension," the statement said.

Shiv Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray briefed the media on the party's discussion with Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari on Monday. He said that within 24 hours of receiving a letter to stake claim to form the government from the governor, they had held talks with the Congress and NCP on possibility of extending support.

"We are tet to get a letter of support from Congress, NCP. But we have expressed our willingness to form the government in Maharashtra to the governor. We have sought two more days to stake the claim, and though the governor has rejected the request in person, it has not been rejected on paper," he said.

With the CWC meeting chaired by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi having concluded, the party has reportedly decided to offer "outside support" to the Shiv Sena and NCP in forming the government in Maharashtra.

Sources were quoted by ANI as saying that th eCongress will support Shiv Sena and NCP, both the parties have been informed. "Final proceedings are being done," the statement said.

Reports also quoted Congress leader KC Venugopal as saying that a letter of support to the Shiv Sena hasn't been sent yet, even as Shiv Sena leaders are currently at the Raj Bhavan to meet the Maharashtra governor.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena is likely to ask Mahrashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari for an extention of 24 hours on the deadline given to stake claim to form the government. A multi-car convoy of Shiv Sena leaders has just reached the Raj Bhavan for a meeting with the governor, reports said.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), an ally of the Congress who is considering joining the Shiv Sena in a coalition government, has demanded that a senior member of the Shiv Sena be instituted as the chief minister.

The alliance between the Shiv Sena and BJP broke down in the days since the Assembly election results were declared, on the former's demand that there should be a rotational chief minister's post in the state.

The Congress, after a crucial CWC meeting chaired by interim president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi, is likely to offer "outside support" to the Shiv Sena on forming the government in Maharashtra, India Today reported.

The report said that Sonia is not in favour of being part of the government which is what its ally NCP chief Sharad Pawar was batting for, but has indicated willingness to offer outside support to the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi reportedly spoke to the party's Maharashtra MLAs who are lodged in a Jaipur hotel amid the political crisis in the state. Sonia is also currently chairing a crucial CWC meeting to take a decision on whether the party should support the Shiv Sena in forming the government.

Amid the political crisis in Maharashtra, reports claimed that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray reached out to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi even as the CWC meeting is currently underway.

According to India Today, Thackeray has asked for Sonia's support to form the government ahead of the party's appointment with the state governor at 7.30 pm. Thackeray on Monday also met Congress ally, NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has also reached interim party chief Sonia Gandhi’s residence in Delhi for the senior party leader's meeting on the ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra.

The party is expected to take a decision on whether to support Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena for its claim to form the government after the BJP, which won the most seats in the October election, said it was unable to prove majority.

The Congress, with its ally NCP, is likely to decide on whether to support the Shiv Sena ahead of the latter's appointment with Maharashtra governor at 7.30 pm on Monday.

Former prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) supremo Deve Gowda on Monday weighed in on the political impasse in Maharashtra, which is playing out similar to the situation that occurred in Gowda's home state of Karnataka after the Assembly election in 2018.

The JD(U) had formed a coalition government with the Congress after BS Yediyurappa-led BJP in the state had failed to prove its majority. With JD(U)'s HD Kumaraswamy as the chief minister, the coalition government was in power for a little over a year before it fell after it was hit by mass resignations of MLAs. Currently, Yediyurappa is at the helm of a BJP government in the state.

On Monday, Gowda commented on the possibility of the Congress-NCP alliance lending support to Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, whose demand for a rotational chief minister's post has put it at loggerheads with its long-time ally, the BJP.

"If Congress gives support to Shiv Sena, they should not disturb it for the next five years. Only then people will trust the Congress," Gowda said.

"Bala Saheb gave a place to the BJP in Maharashtra, LK Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had gone to Bala Saheb's residence and requested him for seats. The BJP overrode that, that's why Uddhav Thackeray has taken a stand that he will teach them a lesson. Now, it's for Congress and NCP to put down BJP," he added.

Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who has been at the forefront of the "junior ally"s "belligerent" demand of a rotational chief minister's post after the Maharashtra Assembly election in October, is reportedly admitted to the Lilavati hospital. However, the ANI report said more details were awaited.

Senior members of the Maharashtra Congress are scheduled to meet party MLAs at 4 pm even as Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar concluded amid a situation of tumult in the state's politics.

After the NCP’s core committee meet held in Mumbai concluded, party leader Nawab Malik said that they will wait for their Maha-aghadi ally to take their decision on supporting the Shiv Sena in a meeting to be held with senior Maharashtra Congress leaders at 4 pm in Delhi.

With the Congress meeting underway in Delhi to discuss the situation in Maharashtra, a party source told CNN-News18 that state leaders Milind Deora and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan are in support of an alliance with the Shiv Sena. Sources said that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has emerged as the frontrunner for the post of the chief minister. It was also reported there is a possibility of two deputy chief ministers – one from NCP and one from Congress.

Shiv Sena will hand over a letter of support to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari at 2.30 pm. During the meeting, Shiv Sena delegation, to be led by Eknath Shinde, is likely to seek time to prove majority. Later, a high level meet is scheduled to take place at the Sena Bhavan.

In a press conference held after a meeting of Shiv Sena leaders, Sanjay Raut addressed a press conference where he blamed the BJP for not keeping its word on the 50:50 alliance formula. Holding the BJP responsible for the political crisis in Maharashtra, Raut said the saffron party has insulted people’s mandate by agreeing to sitting in the Opposition rather than following the agreed formula to give the state a stable government. He also hit out at the saffron party for ignoring allies in other states as well.

Sixteen days after the Maharashtra Assembly election results, the unfolding events took another spin as the single-largest party and the major partner of the winning alliance, Bharatiya Janata Party, declared that it was unable to form the government.

The BJP informed Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari of its decision, after the latter had invited the party to show its 'willingness and ability' to form the government in state. Following procedure, Koshyari has now invited the Shiv Sena, the second largest party, to stake claim to power.

Announcing the BJP's decision, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil accused the Uddhav Thackeray-led party, which is adamant on its demand for a rotational chief ministership, of "disrespecting" the popular mandate secured by the BJP and the Sena in the recent Assembly polls.

"The mandate of the people of Maharashtra was for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. Sena has, however, disrespected the mandate, hence we have decided to not stake claim to form government. We have informed our decision to governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari," Patil told reporters outside Raj Bhavan.

He wished "good luck" to the Sena if it wanted to form the government with the help of Opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party.

Sena, meanwhile, has maintained that it will install its chief minister at all costs.

The Congress has so far remained wary of making any concrete comments and is currently holding consultations. Senior NCP leader Nawab Malik said the party will take a decision only after the Sena walks out of the NDA and gives a formal proposal seeking support to form a government.

The Maha story so far

The BJP and the Sena had together won 161 seats in the 288-member House, well above the halfway mark of 145. However, the trouble between the allies started after 24 October when the results were announced. Upon discovering that the BJP (105) could not secure the majority (145) by itself, the Sena asserted its claim over the chief minister's post. Sena claimed that the BJP had promised it an equal share in power before Lok Sabha election, which, it said, meant that notwithstanding its seat share (56), it was entitled to chief minister's post for half the term of the elected Assembly. The BJP, however, denied having agreed to such an arrangement.

The Sena continued its attack on its ally of 30 years, while flirting with Sharad Pawar's NCP. It did not hold talks with BJP even once, while Sena's senior leader Raut visited Pawar twice and dialed up his nephew Ajit Pawar too, as per the latter's claim. Uddhav later accepted to have suspended talks because BJP had outright denied that the parties had ever agreed upon a 50:50 power sharing formula. "We do not do business with those who make it seem like we are liars. Nobody has ever called the Thackeray family a liar," Uddhav had told reporters after Fadnavis' tirade against his party.

Fadnavis had accused Sena of jeopardising the alliance, stating that he was hurt and shocked by Sena's changed demeanour after the elections. On Sena's statement that the mandate was against Fadnavis, the caretaker chief minister subtly highlighted that his party had a better strike rate than Sena.

Fadnavis said BJP’s "strike rate" was better in 2019 than in 2014. "We contested 260 seats in 2014 and won 47 percent seats and 28 percent votes. In 2019, we contested 150 seats. We won 70 percent of seats and 26 percent votes," he said.

Sena, which contested alone in 2014, won 63 out of 282 seats with a strike rate of 22.34 percent. In 2019, it fought on 126 seats and won 56 with a strike rate of 45 percent.

Where do other players stand?

Congress, which had been watching the show from the sidelines for the first time showed signs of the intent for an alliance.

While senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan said his party did not want President's Rule in the state, another party leader Milind Deora hinted at his support for an alliance with Sena by stating that NCP and Congress should try to form the government since the BJP has failed. An 'attempt' such as the one suggested by Deora is mathematically impossible without the Sena's support to the Maha-agadhi alliance.

Sanjay Nirupam was the only voice in Congress who openly opposed an alliance with Sena based on ideological differences. Nirupam said "it seems the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance has broken", and that he would urge his party leadership not to encourage government formation with the Sena's help as it will "not be a stable government" and both the Congress and NCP will suffer.

On its part, the NCP has also taken a cautious route. While on one hand, NCP's national chief Pawar kept insisting that NCP is content to sit in the Opposition, party's state president Nawab Malik dropped ample hints that if Sena was ready to sever all ties with BJP, there may be scope for an alternative arrangement. Congress general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday met the party's newly elected MLAs from Maharashtra, who are staying at a resort in Jaipur, to discuss the political situation in the state while NCP chief Sharad Pawar met some of his party leaders in Mumbai.

A senior Congress leader, on condition of anonymity, said the All India Congress Committee (AICC) has deputed two observers to hold discussions with the MLAs in Jaipur on what stand the party should take in view of the impasse on government formation.

"The Congress has to decide if it wants to stop the BJP in Maharashtra or whether it doesn't care if the BJP is able to form a government. An alternative government can be formed only with Congress' support," he said.

He also said that Congress General Secretary Mallikarjun Kharge held informal talks with the Maharashtra Congress MLAs in Jaipur in the morning.

He also brushed aside suggestions that the governor could invite the Congress-NCP for government formation as the 'second largest' alliance, claiming no such provision existed in the Sarkaraia Commission's recommendations.

In another development, NCP chief Sharad Pawar also held a meeting with some of his party leaders in Mumbai. Refusing to speak on a "non-BJP alliance", Pawar said he would react only to Congress' official statement.

"I cannot go by news reports about the decision of the Congress. I will react only when the Congress officially informs me about its decision," Pawar told reporters.

With inputs from agencies



November 13, 2019 at 11:53PM

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