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Governor asks BJP to indicate willingness to form government in Maharashtra


Fadnavis_PTI_1
Chennai:

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday invited BJP, the largest party in the state legislature to form the government.

“Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari asked the leader of elected members of the single largest party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Devendra Fadnavis, to indicate the willingness and ability of his party to form the government in Maharashtra,” said the statement released by the Raj Bhavan in the evening.

The statement didn’t mention the time limit within which the BJP parliamentary party needs to express its willingness to form government. State BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said that the party shall discuss the issue at the meeting of its core committee on Sunday and decide the future course of action.

The governor’s initiative to ask the BJP to express willingness to form government comes as major relief to other political parties of the state as the danger of imposition of president’s rule has been averted as of now.

While reacting to the development, NCP said that the governor should have initiated the process earlier and also should have ascertained that the party has adequate numbers before extending the invitation.

“The governor needs to ensure that horse-trading is averted,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik. He also said that his party shall vote against the BJP and shall think over possibility of forming alternative government if BJP government falls after Shiv Sena votes against it.

The NCP has called a meeting of all its MLAs on Tuesday (Nov 12) where party president Sharad Pawar will address all the MLAs.

“The Shiv Sena had been insisting for past fortnight that the governor should start the process of government formation. He has done so today. We welcome it,” said Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. The party has already made its stand clear, he said adding that the BJP will now have to prove that it has numbers.

The Shiv Sena on Saturday raised question through its party mouthpiece Saamana as to why the BJP had been shying away from the staking claim to form government, while the Congress and the NCP had already made it clear that they have been mandated by the people of the state to sit in opposition.

Saturday was the last day of 13th assembly. Elections for 14th assembly were held on 21st October and results were declared on 24th October. The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 105 members, while its ally Shiv Sena was the second largest with 56 members. The Congress got 44 and the NCP 54. However, the Shiv Sena staked claim on CM’s post and none of the parties came forward to express willingness to form government over past fortnight.

“The Governor has therefore decided to explore the possibility of formation of Government and asked the leader of the elected members of the single largest party, that is BJP, to convey its willingness and ability to form the government,” said the Raj Bhavan statement.

Friday turned out to be a day of political action when BJP closed all channels of negotiations with the Shiv Sena for government formation and Fadnavis tendered his resignation to Governor Koshyari. While accepting the resignation the Governor asked him to continue as caretaker Chief Minister till alternate arrangement is made.

After tendering resignation, Fadnavis had fired salvos at the Shiv Sena which was retaliated by Uddhav Thackeray. Both the parties appear to have drifted away from each other, which raises question that whether and how the BJP will be able to gather the magic figure of 145 in the the 288 member house without the support of Shiv Sena if it decides to stake claim for government formation as per the governor’s request. It will also needs to be seen what step governor takes if th BJP expresses inability to form the government.