BJP declines to form govt in Maha; Sena says will install ourCM

BJP declines to form govt in Maha; Sena says will install ourCM (EDS: Adding details) Mumbai, Nov 10 (PTI) The political crisis inMaharashtra deepened on Sunday with the BJP announcing that itwould not form government in view of ally Shiv Sena's stand tonot join them, a move that puts onus on the Uddhav Thackeray-led party to muster requisite numbers amid a speculation thatit might rope in the Congress and NCP to prop up a government.

Reacting to the announcement, senior Sena MP SanjayRaut said the party will install its chief minister at anycost, indicating that the party was exporing options to form agovernment with the support of the Opposition.

The Sena and the BJP have been locked in a bittertussle over sharing of the post of the chief minister sincethe last 16 days when the results of the assembly polls wereannounced.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had rejectedThackeray's claims that BJP chief Amit Shah was agreed to hisdemand for a rotational chief ministership ahead of Lok Sabhapolls.

After the BJP (105), the Sena is the second largestparty having 56 MLAs in the 288-member assembly. The SharadPawar-led NCP and the Congress each has 54 and 44 seats,respectively. The halfway mark is 145.

Announcing the party's decision, state BJP chiefChandrakant Patil accused the Uddhav Thackeray-led party of'disrespecting' the popular mandate secured by the NDA inrecent assembly polls.

The governor had on Saturday invited the BJP to'indicate the willingness and ability' to form government byvirtue of it being the single largest party.

In fact, Patil wished 'good luck' to the Sena to goahead and form a government with the support of the Congressand the NCP.

'We contested together but the Sena does not want tocome with us to form government. The mandate of the people ofMaharashtra was for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. Sena has,however, disrespected the mandate, hence we have decided tonot stake claim to form government. We have informed ourdecision to governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari,' Patil toldreporters outside Raj Bhavan.

'If the Sena wants to form the government with thehelp of the Congress and the NCP, we wish them good luck,' hesaid.

The BJP's announcement capped the flurry of activitythroughout the day which saw its core committee meeting twiceto chart the political course amidst cold vibes from the Sena,which has been firm on the demand for the post of the chiefminister.

Thackeray held discussions with newly-elected MLAs ata hotel in suburban Malad.

With the BJP backing off from the race, all eyes arenow on the stand of the Congress and the NCP whichcollectively have 98 MLAs.

'Maharashtra will have Sena's chief minister at anycost. Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday informed the party MLAs thatSena will have its chief minister,' Raut told reporters.

'How will BJP have its chief minister when they arenot staking a claim to form government?' he asked.

However, the crucial question is how will Sena musterthe requisite number of MLAs if it wants to form governmentand install its CM.

Raut had earlier claimed the Sena had the support of170 MLAs.

Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik on Sunday said that governormight invite his party to stake claim to form government.

'We do not want president's rule in Maharashtra asthere are several issues we want to resolve including thecurrent plight of farmers. I think Maharashtra governor mayinvite us to stake claim for government formation,' he said,adding that the final decision will be taken by Thackeray.

When asked about Raut's claim of having the support of170 MLAs, Sarnaik refused comment.

Senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan said the partydidn't want President's rule in Maharashtra, indicating thatthe party is in the game.

Newly-elected MLAs of Congress are currently stayingin Jaipur.

'We are in Jaipur. We will discuss the issue here andwill seek advice for the future political stand. The partydoesn't want president's rule in the state,' Chavan toldreporters.

Chavan said he was in favour of forming a stablegovernment in Maharashtra.

Another Congress leader Milind Deora said the governorshould invite NCP-Congress alliance to form government, aproposal opposed by another leader Sanjay Nirupam.

The NCP led by Sharad Pawar seems to have adopted await-and-watch approach.

Reacting to the BJP's decision to not form thegovernment, senior NCP leader Nawab Malik said the party willtake a decision only after the Sena walks out of the NDA andgives a formal proposal seeking support to form a government.

'The Sena first needs to exit from the NDA in which itholds one Cabinet post in the Union government. Unless itleaves the NDA, we will wait and watch.

'We do not have enough numbers but we also don't wantpresident's rule in Maharashtra. If the Sena comes with aproposal, there will be some conditions from our side on whichSena will have to agree on,' he said.

On the Sena's demand for the post of chief minister,Malik said if the Sena needs support of the Congress and theNCP, it will have to clear is stand on sharing of power inDelhi.

'We have not decided yet whether to go ahead andsupport Sena to form government,' he said, adding that ameeting of the NCP MLAs has been summoned on November 12. PTIND MR GK NSKNSK NSK