NEW DELHI: Fresh from the victory in two states — Maharashtra and Haryana — it was a busy day for the BJP, as hectic parleys were on to form government in both the states.
While, the road was clear for Haryana, where the BJP has got full majority, and party would announce the name of its Chief Minister on Tuesday, it was Maharashtra where the party was still short of 22 seats that its negotiations skills were being tested. Home Minister Rajnath Singh and party general secretary J P Nadda had postponed their visit to Mumbai by a day so that a clearer picture could be emerged.
Though, there were indications that the BJP was inclined to have support from its old ally the Shiv Sena, yet it wanted lesser dependence on it.
Party chief Amit Shah met Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari at latter’s house to discuss strategy to form the government, even selecting a chief minister. Gadkari after the meet denied that he too was in race for the post. Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who also belongs to Maharashtra, also met Shah and other leaders.
Sources said while efforts were on to rope in Independents to reduce the gap, so that dependence on the Sena, with whom the BJP was likely to tie up, was limited.
Maharashtra BJP leader Kirti Somaiya was quoted saying by TV channels that the BJP’s support had swelled up to 135 from 122 as it got support from some Independents. Yet it was short of 10 MLAs.
BJP leaders added that it was not necessary to have 145 MLAs to stake the claim to form the government. A senior BJP leader said they would focus on deciding their CM, while it will be left for the Maharashtra unit to engage in talks with the Sena, thus indicating that the Sena would not be given any preferential treatment even if the BJP was short of numbers.
The BJP would rather wait for the Sena to tone down their rhetoric and be ready to accept the role of being a junior partner than woo them. The BJP had still not forgotten the repeated insults hurled on its way by the Sena.
However, the RSS preferred the Sena over the NCP, against whom the BJP had contested the polls. The Sangh wants partners in the saffron family to stay together.
A senior BJP leader told Express that party will not have tie-up with the NCP as it would mean undermining the party’s campaign. A strong indication of likely thaw between the allies would come during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dinner for his Cabinet colleagues. Shiv Sena’s lone Cabinet Minister Anant Geete is also invited for the dinner.
However, in Haryana it is going to be a smooth sailing for the BJP.
The meeting of the newly elected MLAs in presence of Central observers - Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu and BJP vice-president Dinesh Sharma - to select their chief minister will be held on Tuesday noon in Chandigarh.