State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant
State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant

Mumbai: 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 October 21 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 here.

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 term of the current Assembly in Maharashtra ends on November 9.

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