Mumbai: The stalemate over who will form the government in Maharashtra persists with both the BJP and the Shiv Sena making conflicting claims and asserting proprietary rights to the post of chief minister.
Nonetheless, there will be some momentum on Thursday with a BJP delegation meeting the Governor. However, it remains to be seen whether the BJP will merely explain its ‘position’ to the Governor or formally stake claim to form the government.
Staking claim is easier said than done, with the numbers stacked against the BJP; the party possibly cannot survive the House test, which will be ordered at the earliest, unless there is a dramatic development which gives it the advantage.
The Shiv Sena, too, needs a reality check and has called an emergency meeting of legislators on Thursday to discuss the future strategy. The party has to make up its mind whether it is worthwhile breaking away from its Hindutva mate to form a government with NCP support.
A part of the problem is that there is still a big question mark over the Congress High Command’s stand.
What added to the confusion on Wednesday were the conflicting claims. "We can form the government as we have the magic figure now,’’ asserted a BJP leader who is also a member of its core committee.
What was intriguing was his assertion that "we cannot disclose our plans about how we propose to form a stable government. But we are confident that we will form the government along with the Shiv Sena."
There was no mention of the prickly issue of CM by rotation, which is the major cause of heartburn in the Sena.
Speaking with media after the core committee meeting, Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar announced that he and party state president Chandrakant Patil will be meeting the Governor on Thursday.
"We will not stake claim but only apprise the Governor about the political scenario in the state," Mungantiwar told FPJ.
Interestingly, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is not a part of the delegation despite being the BJP Legislative Party leader. The BJP is confident that once its forms the government, Shiv Sena will jump onto the bandwagon as it did in 2014.
The BJP’s confidence seems to stem from the input provided to the party by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari who had a curious meeting with Ahmed Patel, Political Advisor to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, on Wednesday morning.
It was informally conveyed to Gadkari by Patel that the Congress is not inclined to support the non-BJP formulation headed by Sena. Gadkari is reaching Mumbai on Thursday night and is expected to hold discussions with party legislators and Shiv Sena leaders to end the impasse.
Shiv Sena, too, claimed on Wednesday that the new government will headed by them. "The new government led by Sena will be formed soon and this good news will be given by Sudhir Mungantiwar," claimed Sanjay Raut, who has been firing a daily salvo at BJP.
Uddhav Thackeray has summoned an emergency meeting of elected legislators at 11.30 AM. The final stand of the party will crystallise in this meeting.
There are two stream of thoughts in the Sena. One group supported by Milind Narvekar is strongly advocating joining hands with the BJP and the other led by Aaditya Thackeray favours having truck with the NCP and the Congress.
NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar, meanwhile, has hinted that the stalemate will end in the next two to three days. He also indicated that even if the Congress was not on the same page with it, the NCP may decide to take a call.
"The NCP and the Congress are working in tandem for the last 20 years. Our stand is that we should take a collective decision," he said.
Taunting the BJP’s central leadership, he said: "We are waiting for BJP President Amit Shah to demonstrate his skills at forming the government."