Maharashtra Governor invites BJP to form government

Sanjay Raut

The Sena called a late-night meeting of the top leaders to discuss the governor's invite.

"If it (Shiv Sena) is in a position to form the government along with the support of the Congress - NCP, our best wishes are with them", said Patil, who was flanked by his former minister colleagues like Ashish Shelar, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Vinod Tawde, Pankaja Munde and Girish Mahajan, at the brief media interaction on the lawns of Raj Bhavan.

Experts said that in case the BJP is not able to muster sufficient numbers, the Governor would invite the second largest party - Shiv Sena - followed by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress to explore the possibility of forming the next government. "There is overall consensus in Maharashtra that there should not be a chief minister from BJP", he said. With Shiv Sena adamant on CM post for 2.5 years, and the BJP unrelenting, there is now a deadlock.

The Congress in Maharashtra on Sunday said it didn't want President's Rule in the state which is in the midst of a political crisis in view of the BJP's announcement that it would not form government. It needs another 25 seats to reach the majority in the 288-member House. In an apparent reference to the BJP, he said that the party's bubble of being "invincible" has burst and the arrogance of "buying" a politician to form the government will no longer work in the state.

BJP and Shiv Sena went to elections as allies, but after results were announced, the Uddav Thackeray-led party demanded "50-50" sharing of CM's post. "We have not decided anything yet", Congress leader Ashok Chavan said. The Sena and BJP differ on the issue of the border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka over the Belagavi (Belgaum) district, Raut said. "If the Shiv Sena wants our support, they will have to declare that they have no relation with BJP and they should pull out from National Democratic Alliance (NDA)".

Devendra Fadnavis hands over his resignation as Maharashtra Chief Minister to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, in Mumbai, Friday.

Crucial decisions are pending over the next couple of days as a more than 15-day impasse between the BJP-Sena alliance took a fresh spin on Sunday after the former declined the Governor's invitation to form government.

"He could not take oath because BJP chief Amit Shah has remained aloof from developments in the state", Raut said.

AICC general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge and Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat will meet them in Jaipur on November 10, he said.

They later moved to Matoshree, the Bandra residence of party chief Uddhav Thackeray, for another meeting.The developments seem to have increased the bargaining power of opposition Congress and NCP, as the Sena, which has 56 MLAs, is far away from the halfway mark of 145.A day after the governor asked the BJP to indicate its willingness and ability to form government, caretaker Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis informed him about the party's inability to do so due to lack of enough numbers.

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