Maharashtra may see a spell of President rule

Maharshtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis (L) and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray (R) (Photo/PTI)

Maharashtra may be headed for a brief spell of President’s rule as the Shiv Sena and the BJP remained deadlocked over the power-sharing deal, leaders from the state said in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Though there was speculation about the NCP taking the lead in providing an alternative if the BJP-Shiv Sena fail to deliver a government, Congress president Sonia Gandhi remained firm on her opposition to any initiative featuring the Sena.

And no climbdown was visible from the Maharashtra BJP unit, whose core committee met in Mumbai on Tuesday and said a BJP-Sena government under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis would be formed, a signal that the party was in no mood to relent.

With no rapprochement between the saffron allies in sight, the ball is in Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s court now.

“There could be a brief spell of President’s rule in the state if Sena-BJP fail to resolve their differences by November 9,” a senior Maharashtra leader said. The term of the outgoing Assembly ends on November 9.

If a new government is not formed before that, the Governor might recommend President’s rule.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who met BJP President Amit Shah on Monday, returned to Mumbai on Tuesday morning without meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Political circles were abuzz about the top BJP leadership being unhappy over Fadnavis’ handling of the post-poll situation in Maharashtra and have left it to him to sort out the mess with its oldest ally — Shiv Sena.

It is being said that Uddhav Thackeray has taken objection to Fadnavis’ statement that Shah had not agreed to a 50-50 power sharing deal.

But the BJP, too, is in a sort of bind, as a section of the BJP believes that breaking the alliance with the Shiv Sena would not send a good signal and that Fadnavis may have to take the lead in smoothening the ruffled feathers of its alliance partner.

The first signals of a retreat were seen when BJP sources indicated that they were not averse to sharing equally the ministries with the Shiv Sena.

A Union Minister said the chances of BJP forming a minority government were slim as such an endeavour was bound to fail at the stage of the election of Speaker.

“Shiv Sena and BJP have to talk and sort out their differences for the betterment of Maharashtra,” the minister said.

In Mumbai, state BJP President and Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said people of Maharashtra had given mandate to MahaYuti - comprising BJP, Sena and smaller allies RPI (Athawale), Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, Shiv Sangram and RayatKranti Sangathana - and they would form the government.

Stating that the BJP would take “everyone along”, Patil said the party central leadership had approved the formation of the next government under Fadnavis.

On the other hand, Shiv Sena maintained the CM would be from their party. “The Chief Minister will only from the Shiv Sena,” said Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut, a close aide of Uddhav.  

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