Mumbai: Buoyed by exit poll results, the BJP on Thursday asserted that it would form government on its own in Haryana and Maharashtra, and stressed that it would not require the support of the Shiv Sena. The BJP also seemed sanguine at the prospect of Maharashtra having a BJP chief minister for the first time.
Incidentally, the Shiv Sena also maintained a public posture that they were confident of forming government in the state on their own, without having to seek a prop from any other party. Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut told reporters, “We won’t need any support, you’ll see on Sunday.”
The Sena claim was, however, greeted with scepticism and observers pointed out that both the saffron parties were in a wait and watch mode and will continue to play cards close to their chest till the results are out.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had gone hammer and tongs at the BJP in the election campaign and even derisively referred to PM Modi as ‘chaiwala’ on the eve of the elections, a comment that was later withdrawn. Despite the poll overreach and barbed comments, especially those addressed to BJP president Amit Shah, the Sena realises that it may have no option but to have some tactical understanding with the BJP, even if it decides to sit in the Opposition.
This is because the Sena continues to be a part of the NDA with its leader Anant Geete holding the Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises portfolio. The two parties also hold reins of the cash-rich Bombay Municipal Corporation. It is expected that these commonalities will help overcome the recent poll rancour.
On Thursday, a day after the exit poll sounded the victory bugle for the BJP, its erstwhile ally seemed more grounded and in a TV talk show, a Sena spokesperson sounded rather conciliatory and refused to take pot shots at the BJP. The Sena is expected to back off once the results are staring it in its face, pointed out a BJP leader.
BJP central minister Nitin Gadkari, too, had hinted at the possibility of a post-poll tie-up in the run-up to the election. But on Thursday, while talking with reporters, he was non-committal.
Meanwhile, former Union minister and Nationalist Congress Party senior leader Praful Patel on Thursday made a rather cryptic comment. He tweeted, “The NCP will have a crucial role to play in Maharashtra government formation. I am confident that the NCP will do well in the polls.”
However, BJP’s state unit president Devendra Fadnavis had, on Wednesday, made it clear in conversation with a Marathi news channel that his party would not take help from the NCP under any circumstance to form the government. “When our Prime Minister dubs a party as ‘corrupt’, it is clear that there is no possibility of our party seeking their support in government formation,” Fadnavis said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his campaign rallies, had referred to the NCP as “naturally corrupt party” and a “bhrashtacharvadi” (corrupt) party.
Gadkari plans to stay put in Delhi
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has shifted to a new sprawling bungalow in New Delhi, which earlier served as the headquarters of the once-powerful think-tank, the National Advisory Council led by Sonia Gandhi, which was often described as a super-cabinet in the UPA regime. Political observers lost no time in reading a message in Gadkari’s house-shifting: They said it was an indication that he is planning to stay put in Delhi and is not inclined to be counted among potential chief ministers if his party comes to power in Maharashtra. Gadkari is now also Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s neighbour, reports NDTV.