Photo Credit: Bhushan Koyande
Photo Credit: Bhushan Koyande

New Delhi / Mumbai: It was drama in real life. After rebuffing a hapless Shiv Sena, which had sought more time from the Governor to clear the decks for government formation, B.S. Koshyari, late on Monday, asked the Nationalist Congress Party to inform him by 8.30 am on Tuesday whether it can form the next government in the state.

With that, a scenario is emerging in which the NCP can stake claim with Congress support. Incidentally, this is also the second largest pre-poll alliance.

However, in a strange role-reversal, now it has to solicit the support of the Shiv Sena, so that the formulation does not flounder on the floor of the House. Possibly, the proposed CM by rotation formula, to which the BJP had declined, may again come into play.

But forming a government is easier said than done. The Governor requires letters with signatures, names, constituency names and the number of all the supporting legislators, which is difficult to organise at such a short notice.

Nonetheless, the NCP showed its inclination to form the government by despatching former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar to the Raj Bhavan for a meeting along with half-a-dozen other leaders.

The Governor is clearly going strictly by the book and exhausting all possible options before placing Maharashtra in a state of suspended animation, a prelude to imposition of President’s rule.

Earlier, having created an impression – through innuendo and by way of selective leaks -- that it had decided to prop up a Shiv Sena-led government, Sonia Gandhi asked Pawar for two more days to think things over, so that she can take a more informed decision on the matter.

It was unclear whether the Congress and the NCP were playing to a script, expecting that the Governor, strapped for options, will invite them to form the government.

Sources said there were sharp differences in the Congress Working Committee meeting, which constrained Sonia to ring up Pawar and seek more time to address party concerns.

A small press statement was put out by Congress general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal which was silent on the support to the Sena government.

In reply to a question, he just said the Congress letter of support has not been sent yet to the Maharashtra governor and he won't say anything further on it. The statement also said the party will have further discussion with the NCP.

Earlier, Pawar spoke to Sonia and underscored that outside support to the Sena won't ensure a stable government. He insisted on the Congress joining the government and indicated that Uddhav Thackeray had agreed to have two deputy CMs -- one of the Congress and the other of the NCP.

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