No headway in Maha govt formation as BJP, Sena refuse to budge (Eds: combines related series) Mumbai

No headway in Maha govt formation as BJP, Sena refuse to budge (Eds: combines related series) Mumbai, Nov 7 (PTI) The wait for a new government inMaharashtra prolonged on Thursday, with the BJP not stakingclaim, while an aggressive Shiv Sena remained firm on rotationof the chief minister's post.

Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who hasn't blinked inthe protracted battle of nerves with the senior alliancepartner, was quoted as saying that the Amit Shah-led partyshould approach him only if ready to give Sena the CMs post.

On Thursday, Thackeray chaired a meeting of Sena's newMLAs for over an hour, during which the legislators reiteratedthat the 'equal sharing of posts and responsibilities' formulaagreed upon before the Lok Sabha polls should be implemented.

The Sena MLAs passed a resolution, authorising UddhavThackeray to take a 'final decision' on government formationin Maharashtra.

After the meet, held at Thackeray's Bandra residence'Matoshree', the legislators went to Rangsharda Hotel, closeto the party chief's home, where they were shifted amid theongoing uncertainty over government formation and fear ofswitching sides.

'It is necessary for all the MLAs to be together inthe prevailing situation. Whatever decision Uddhavji takeswill be binding on all of us,' Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu said.

'Threats and blackmailing won't work now,' said SenaMP Sanjay Raut, who has been the public face of the party'snew-found belligerence during the last fortnight.

'We also have options (to form government),' he said,but did not elaborate.

Results of the October 21 Assembly poll were declaredon October 24.

Maharashtra Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni metGovernor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan amid talk of thelatter stepping in to annoint a caretaker CM if nobody stakesclaim to form the new government before the present Assembly'sterm ends in two days.

In Nagpur, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said ChiefMinister Decendra Fadnavis should head the new government ashe has been elected head of state BJP legislature party, andruled out his assuming the state's top job.

He also said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat should not belinked to the government formation moves in Maharashtra.

Senior leaders of Maharashtra BJP met Koshyari inMumbai to discuss 'legal aspects' of the delay in formation ofa government in the state.

Those who met Koshyari included minister and state BJPchief Chandrakant Patil and ministers Sudhir Mungantiwar andGirish Mahajan.

'We discussed the legal aspects of the currentsituation with the governor. We will hold talks with ourleaders and decide next course of action,' he said.

Anant Kalse, former principal secrertary of the statelegislature, said the onus is on Governor Koshyari to act ifno party stakes claim to form the new government.

If no party comes forward, the governor can invite thesingle largest party to form the government, Kalse said.

'If that party shows its inability to form the newgovernment, then the governor will invite the second largestparty to form the government,' Kalse said. 'The governor willhave to carry out these modalities,' he told a TV channel.

The decision to hold the first session of the newAssembly is taken in the first cabinet meeting of the newgovernment, he said. Holding the session is the cabinet'sresponsibility, he added.

'The Assembly poll results have been notified by theElection Commission. The new Assembly will come into existenceas per Constitutional provisions,' he said.

'Till the new CM is sworn in, the session of the newAssembly can't be convened,' Kalse said.

After the new government proposes, the governor callsthe session of the new Assembly in which all the new MLAs aresworn in, he said.

'There is no provision of a caretaker government asper the Constitution but there have been such incidents evenat the Centre,' he said.

'The tenure of a caretaker government is a grey areabut the new government will have to be formed soon,' he said.

Former Maharashtra Advocate General Shrihari Aneysaid, it is a 'very long time' before one can think ofimposing President's rule in the state.

'There are many options and actions to be taken beforereaching such a decision,' Aney said.

'There is no provision in law that the new governmentwill have to be formed by November 9, after the tenure of thepresent Assembly ends,' Aney said.

The BJP and Shiv Sena are locked in a tussle over theissue of the chief minister's post, resulting in a stalematein government formation despite results of the Assembly pollsgiving the alliance a combined seat strength of 161, way pastthe 145 majority mark in the 288-member House.

In the polls, the BJP won 105 seats, Shiv Sena-56,NCP-54 and the Congress won 44 seats.

The Congress on Thursday questioned the BJP-Shiv Senaalliance's 'moral right' to form government in Maharashtra ifthe Sena apprehends poaching of its MLAs by its senior ally.

The Nationalist Congress Party claimed that MLAs werebeing approached with inducements for switching camps. PTI MRND ENM CLS GK KRK VTVT VT