Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut (Photo Credit: ANI)
Amid the ongoing impasse between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena over government formation in Maharashtra, Sanjay Raut on Sunday said that his party (Shiv Sena) is ready to form the government if no one else is willing to. This came after Mumbai unit NCP president Nawab Malik said that his party might consider supporting a government led by Shiv Sena.
“If the BJP government is formed, the NCP will vote against the government on the floor of the House. We will see if the Shiv Sena votes against the BJP in the House to pull down the government, then we will consider supporting an alternate government led by Shiv Sena,” said Malik.
“The Governor has started the process by inviting BJP to form the government. This could have been started earlier also. He should take the precaution since the BJP doesn’t have the number to form a stable government. The Governor should take care that horse-trading is not started by the BJP,” he told ANI.
Sanjay Raut also said his party would declare its next strategy once no one else is able to form government in Maharashtra, and asserted that politics was not a trade for his party. Without taking name of any individual or party, he said the bubble of being “invincible” has burst and the arrogance of “buying” a politician to form government will no longer work in the state.
The Shiv Sena “will step in” if no one forms government, Raut told reporters here. He also welcomed the decision of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to invite the BJP to form government in the state. “I welcome the governor’s decision to invite the BJP. The single largest party had to be called. We fail to understand why the BJP did not stake claim in 24 hours (after results) if it was confident that it had the majority,” the Rajya Sabha member said.
“I don’t think the BJP has enough strength to stake claim for government formation...I am told the governor has asked the BJP to inform him about its decision by 8 pm on November 11,” he said. On the Sena’s future course of action, he said, “Let the picture be clear on the first step by governor. The Shiv Sena will declare its strategy if no one else is able to form the government.”
He said Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will be meeting the party MLAs at 12.30 pm on Sunday. “He is meeting as a routine. We will see how the day progresses,” said the Rajya Sabha member. The BJP won 105 seats in the October 21 elections, while the majority mark in the 288-member Assembly is 145. Its ally Shiv Sena won 56 seats, but the two parties are bickering over the chief minister’s post.
Asked if the Shiv Sena has entered into a ‘deal’ with the Congress and NCP, Raut said, “We are not traders to make deals. Politics is not a trade for the Shiv Sena. ‘Profit’ and ‘loss’ (words) are not in our dictionary.”
He also dismissed the possibility of legislators switching sides. “I don’t think MLAs of any party would defect. If anyone tries to split another party for government formation, I don’t think it will work this time,” he said.
“The arrogance of buying any politician and form a government will no longer work in this state. The bubble of being invincible has burst,” Raut said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday evening asked the BJP, the single largest party in the new Assembly, to “indicate the willingness and ability” to form government, creating hope that the 15-day-long political impasse in the state will end.
The BJP’s core committee will meet on Sunday and decide the future course of action, party leader Chandrakant Patil said. The Shiv Sena, locked in a tussle with ally BJP over sharing of chief minister’s post, welcomed Koshyari’s decision.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni had met the governor at Raj Bhavan earlier in the day, sources said. The term of the 13th Legislative Assembly of the state will end on Saturday midnight. “We have just received the letter from the governor,” Chandrakant Patil, who is state BJP president, told PTI, “Our core committee will meet tomorrow and discuss the future course of action,” he added.
According to Raj Bhavan statement, the governor asked Devendra Fadnavis, who is the leader of the state BJP’s legislature wing, to “indicate the willingness and ability of his party to form the government”.
“Elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly were held on October 21 and the results were declared on October 24. However, despite the passage of 15 days, no single party or alliance of parties has come forward to form the government,” the statement said.
“The Governor has therefore decided to explore the possibility of formation of Government and today asked the leader of the elected members of the single largest party, that is BJP, to convey its willingness and ability to form the government,” it further said.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the governor’s decision follows laid-down procedure and the Sena welcomes it. “At least the governor has begun the process of exploring for government formation. The BJP is the single largest party and the rightful claimant to form government first,” Raut told PTI.
The BJP won 105 seats in the October 21 elections, while the majority mark in the 288-member Assembly is 145. Its ally Shiv Sena has won 56 seats, but the two parties are bickering over chief minister’s post.
On Friday, after Fadnavis resigned as Chief Minister and was asked by the governor to continue as caretaker CM, the two allies had a bitter showdown over what had been decided mutually about the chief minister’s post during their pre-poll negotiations.