Fadnavis quits; says Sena shunned BJP but talked to Cong-NCP

Fadnavis quits; says Sena shunned BJP but talked to Cong-NCP (Eds: combines related series) Mumbai, Nov 8 (PTI) Devendra Fadnavis on Fridayresigned as Maharashtra chief minister, five years and a weekafter he assumed the state's top job, as an aggressive ShivSena rebuffed all attempts to form an alliance government.

Fadnavis, 49, drove to Raj Bhavan and handed over hisresignation to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who asked himto be the 'caretaker CM' till alternate arrangements are made.

The development came a fortnight after results of theOctober 21 Assembly elections were declared.

'The alternate arrangements could be anything, be it anew government or imposition of President's rule,' Fadnavistold reporters after meeting the governor.

'The governor has accepted my resignation. I thank thepeople of Maharashtra for giving me the chance to serve themfor the last five years,' Fadnavis said.

Fadnavis blamed ally Shiv Sena for the impasse overgovernment formation after the Assembly polls.

Refuting Sena's claim, Fadnavis asserted that nodecision was taken 'in his presence' that the two will sharethe chief minister's post.

'I again want to make it clear that it was neverdecided that the CM's post will be shared. There was never adecision on this issue. Even Amit Shah ji and Nitin Gadkari jisaid this was never decided,' he said.

The Sena had claimed that before the Lok Sabha polls,the two allies had decided to share the CM's post in the nextterm for two-and-half-years each.

Fadnavis said he called Sena chief Uddhav Thackerayfor breaking the impasse many times, but 'Uddhav ji did nottake my calls.' The Shiv Sena's 'policy' of not talking with the BJPbut holding talks with the opposition Congress and NCP waswrong, he said.

'The day poll results came, Uddhav ji said all optionsopen for government formation. That was shocking for us aspeople had given mandate for our alliance and in suchcircumstances it was a big question for us that why he saidthat all options are open for him,' he said.

With the impasse on government formation continuingeven a fortnight after Assembly poll results, NCP chief SharadPawar said why wasn't the governor calling the single largestparty.

Pawar said he was not aware why Governor Koshyari wasnot inviting the BJP, which emerged as the single largestparty winning 105 seats in the October 21 Assembly election,to stake claim to form government.

Union minister Ramdas Athawale on Friday met Pawarhere 'to seek his advice' on ending deadlock over governmentformation in Maharashtra.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Pawarsuggested the BJP and Shiv Sena through Athawale to respectthe 'clear cut majority' people have given them.

Pawar said, 'Such a situation should not prevail in astate like Maharashtra. He (Athawale) asked for advice. Wehave consensus that the people have given the BJP and ShivSena clear cut mandate.' For how long can the President or Governor wait, Pawarsaid, adding they will have to take some decision soon.

There has been no headway in government formation evena fortnight after Assembly poll results were announced onOctober 24.

The BJP and Shiv Sena are locked in a tussle over theissue of the chief minister's post, resulting in a stalematedespite the Assembly poll results giving the alliance acombined seat strength of 161, way past the 145 majority markin the 288-member House.

In the polls, the BJP won 105 seats, Shiv Sena-56,NCP-54 and the Congress won 44 seats. PTI MR ENM ND RSY KRK VTVT VT