Maharashtra: Sena not a political untouchable for NCP, Sharad Pawar warms up to saffron party amid uncertainty

Maharashtra: Sena not a political untouchable for NCP, Sharad Pawar warms up to saffron party amid uncertainty

More than a week after results of the Maharashtra assembly elections were declared there is still no clarity on government formation. Interestingly, however, the BJP has booked the Wankhede Stadium for November 5 for the swearing-in ceremony and if the BCCI gives its nod then the stadium will be handed over to the BJP on that date. The tentative plans on part of the BJP are thus in place.

But whether its alliance partner Shiv Sena will be present and be a part of the government is the biggest question in everyone’s mind at the moment. November 8 is the date when the term of the current legislative assembly ends.

BJP with 105 seats and 15 Independents and Shiv Sena with 56 seats and 7 independents are very well in the majority and in a position to form the government in Maharashtra. The simple majority mark in the house of 288 is 145.

But the deal between the two alliance partners is stuck over “kaun bangera mukhyamantri”. While Devendra Fadnavis has clearly stated that he won’t be sharing the hot seat with Sena, an angered Shiv Sena says there is no utility in talks over government formation if the 50-50 formula of power sharing which includes rotational chiefministership isn’t abided by.

Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, maintaining his aggressive stance, has said that he could put it in writing that the next CM would be from Shiv Sena.

If sources are to be believed then the formal talks between Sena and BJP over government formation have yet not started even as sources maintained that BJP was considering giving Sena some plum portfolios.

NCP, on the other hand, which till now had maintained a clear stance of sitting in the Opposition, on Friday added a new twist with national spokesperson Nawab Malik stating that nothing was ruled out in politics.

He said if Shiv Sena and BJP, which were given the mandate to form the government by the people, fail in their endeavour then NCP would try and form the government. He however, didn’t elaborate on how would that scenario play out.

Surprisingly enough the NCP spokesperson added that Shiv Sena wasn’t a political untouchable for the NCP. Technically, Sena (56) NCP (54) and Congress (44) as the three parties together could would cross the majority mark, but many believe that is a highly unlikely scenario. But Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s two meetings with NCP chief Sharad Pawar have fuelled speculation over the new building political combinations in the state politics.

Raut himself was categorical and had stated that the two discussed the present political scenario. While many call it pressure tactics others say Shiv Sena has entered into an understanding with the NCP to embarrass the BJP in the House.

There are still many who believe that Sharad Pawar has been given the right by Congress and NCP to take a call on the question of extending support to Shiv Sena. Congress leaders, too, have met Sharad Pawar recently.

Sources however add that Congress is a divided house over this very sensitive issue. Many Maharashtra Congress leaders, including state chief Balasahib Thorat, former CM Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan among others tried to hold a meeting with Sonia Gandhi to get her nod. Last heard the leaders were set to return to Mumbai without meeting the Congress president.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that NCP chief Sharad Pawar could soon visit Delhi to meet Sonia Gandhi. The ego hassles between Shiv Sena and BJP has clearly prevented the government formation in Maharashtra and it seems there is some time before the deadlock is resolve

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