MUMBAI: A day after it seemed that the BJP and the Shiv Sena were on the verge of reconciliation, the BJP opted not to stake its claim to form the new government despite meeting Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari on Thursday, indicating it did not want to fall into the minority government trap.
After a meeting of its newly elected lawmakers, the Shiv Sena continued its brinkmanship demanding an equal share in governance, challenging the BJP to accept its lack of numbers.
It went on to claim it had options to form the government if the BJP could not, and herded its MLAs into Hotel Rangasharada near the party headquarters in Bandra to keep the flock safe from poaching.
The BJP and the Congress, too, have summoned their MLAs to Mumbai, with the latter calling a meeting of its lawmakers on Friday.
For his part, Governor Koshiyari consulted the advocate general to weigh his legal options amid speculation of imposing President’s Rule.
Since neither the BJP, which is the single largest party nor the largest pre-poll alliance (BJP-Sena) is likely to stake its claim, whether or not Governor Koshiyari will explore other options like calling a post-poll coalition or any other party to form the government remains to be seen.
Caretaker Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is expected to put in his papers on Friday, but it is a technicality since the outgoing 13th Assembly will expire on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray put the ball of government formation back in the BJP’s court while addressing his party MLAs at his residence.
“I don’t want to break the alliance. But, the (CM’s) statement on promises made before the Lok Sabha election were wrong. I’m open for talks even today if the BJP leadership is ready to act on its promise,” he said.
Will Governor Koshiyari (pic) opt for Central Rule? Since both the BJP and the BJP-Sena combine have not staked their claim, he can pass on the option of govt formation to the next party or grouping. Will he?