MUMBAI: After day-long intense political activities the BJP on Sunday declined to play into the hands of Shiv Sena while expressing its inability to form government in Maharashtra and thereby making the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) the biggest gainer in the state.
Sensing that the numbers are not on its side, the BJP declined to form the government. It also blamed its ally Shiv Sena for insulting the people’s mandate.
“People of Maharashtra had mandated in favour of the Mahayuti (grand alliance) that comprised of Shiv Sena, RSP, RPI(A), RKP and Shiv Sangram. Based on the mandate Governor of Maharashtra had asked the BJP whether we wish to form the government.
Since the Shiv Sena has decided to insult the mandate we conveyed the party’s inability to form the government to the governor,” state BJP president Chandrakant Patil said while speaking to reporters at the Raj Bhavan in the evening.
The BJP has 105 MLAs in the house of 288 while the Shiv Sena has 56, NCP 54 and Congress 44. Even with the support from a few independent MLAs BJP’s strength does not go beyond 120. Hence, the party decided to convey its inability to form the government, party sources said.
With this move, the BJP appears to still conceal its cards and consolidate its position, while forcing the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP to open their cards.
The Congress and the Shiv Sena have serious issues in going with each other as it may cause a political harm to both of them. Hence, the BJP’s move today has landed the NCP in the most powerful position as of today, though the party appeared to be weakest before the polls forcing its octogenarian leader to go on a whirlwind campaign tour.
This was clear with senior NCP leader Praful Patel. “NCP won’t form the government as we don’t have the mandate,” Patel said.
Mumbai NCP Chief Nawab Malik made it more clear while saying that the Shiv Sena can not be in two opposite fronts simultaneously.
He reminded the party of its earlier condition that the Shiv Sena will have to withdraw from the NDA if it wants to form the government with the NCP and the Congress.
Withdrawing from the NDA would mean the resignation of loan Shiv Sena minister from Modi government. The Shiv Sena leadership was not prepared to come clear on that.
Reacting to the development this evening, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “Today, while speaking to party MLAs Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray reiterated that the next Chief Minister will be a Shiv Sainik. Since he has said so, I’ve no doubt that it shall happen so.”
He also taunted the BJP over its claim of having its own Chief Minister. “BJP had always maintained that the state shall have BJP’s Chief Minister. How are they going to do that if they are not forming the government?” Raut asked.
Earlier in the day, state BJP core committee huddled twice to ponder over the governor’s invitation. The second meeting was attended by the state in-charge Bhupendra Yadav and addressed by party president Amit Shah from Delhi.
Other activities remained centred in three places, Hotel Retreat in suburban Mumbai where Shiv Sena has lodged its MLAs, a resort in Jaipur where the Congress MLAs a have been lodged and Silver Oak, the Mumbai residence of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, where he conducted meetings with party leaders throughout the day.