Uddhav set to be elected leader of Sena-NCP-Cong

NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray along with NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena MLAs during a gathering to display their strength of 162, at Grand Hyatt Hotel. (PTI Photo)

 In the changing political dynamics in Maharashtra after the resignation of Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine has decided to elect Uddhav Thackeray as its leader to stake a claim for government formation, a senior Sena leader said on Tuesday.

Shiv Sena is the second-largest party in the state Assembly with 56 MLAs, after the BJP which won 105 seats and entitled to be invited by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to stake a claim for government formation after BJP's Fadnavis announced his resignation.

"Uddhav Thackeray will be elected the leader of the three parties to stake a claim for government formation at the evening meeting scheduled to be held in a city hotel. The three parties - Sena, NCP, and Congress - will then submit a joint statement to the governor to stake a claim for government formation," the Sena leader said.

Most of the issues among the Sena, NCP, and Congress have been sorted out, a senior NCP leader said.

"I don't think the three parties would need any more time to stake a claim for government formation," he said.

A senior official from Vidhan Bhavan said that with Fadnavis announcing his decision to quit, there was no need to hold a floor test in the Assembly on Wednesday, as directed by the Supreme Court.

"Instead, the governor may invite the second largest party - Shiv Sena - to stake claim for government formation," he said.

The governor will require a joint statement from the Sena, NCP and Congress along with signatures of their MLAs.

The Sena's 56 MLAs along with the NCP and Congress' 54 and 44 legislators, respectively, would take the combine's tally to 154 in the 288-member House, where the majority mark is 145.

Three days after he was sworn in, Fadnavis on Tuesday announced his resignation, saying the BJP no longer has a majority after his deputy, NCP's Ajit Pawar, quit citing "personal reasons".

Ajit Pawar, who only last week crossed over to the BJP camp and was sworn in along with Fadnavis in the early hours of Saturday morning, resigned earlier in the day.

Fadnavis made the announcement ahead of the floor test his government was supposed to face on Wednesday as per the Supreme Court's directions.

The BJP and the Sena fought the last month's Assembly polls in an alliance, secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats respectively.

The Sena, however, broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after the latter declined to share the chief minister's post. 

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