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BJP Keeps Close Watch as Estranged Ally Shiv Sena Races against Time to Form Govt in Maharashtra

As the Sena has limited options, the BJP held a couple of rounds of meetings on its political strategy which would be largely dependent upon the outcome of the meeting of Sena leaders with the governor.

PTI

Updated:November 11, 2019, 6:17 PM IST
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BJP Keeps Close Watch as Estranged Ally Shiv Sena Races against Time to Form Govt in Maharashtra
File photo of Shiv Sena leaders Uddhav Thackeray and Sanjay Raut.

Mumbai: A day after it declined to form a government in Maharashtra for want of numbers, the BJP is keenly following Monday's political developments which saw its estranged ally Shiv Sena racing against time to enlist support of the NCP and the Congress.

The clock is ticking for the Uddhav Thackeray-led party which has time till 7:30 pm to "indicate the willingness and ability" of the party to form government, as directed by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

As the Sena has limited options, the BJP held a couple of rounds of meetings on its political strategy which would be largely dependent upon the outcome of the meeting of Sena leaders with the governor.

Senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said the party would comment on the political developments, if required, only after 7:30 pm, the deadline given by the governor to the Sena. "We are closely following the developments regarding a possible Sena-NCP alliance. The deadline to stake claim for government formation is 7.30 pm. We will wait till then and if required speak over the issue," he said.

On Sunday, the BJP, which is the single largest party in the 288-member Assembly, declined to form government after its ally Shiv Sena refused to join it. The governor then invited the Sena, the second largest bloc in the House with 56 newly-elected members, to stake claim.

The development prompted the Sena to reach out to the Sharad Pawar-led NCP and the Congress, which collectively have 98 MLAs. The halfway mark is 145.

On Monday, the lone Sena minister in Narendra Modi cabinet, Arvind Sawant, announced his resignation, a pre-condition set by the NCP. Thackeray then met Pawar in Mumbai and is learnt to have requested him to support the saffron party in forming a non-BJP government.

However, the Congress seems to be in double mind on backing the Sena given their diametrically opposite ideological positions on many issues.

The senior leadership of the Congress deliberated on the political situation in Maharashtra at a meeting of its working committee in Delhi and an announcement is likely any moment.

Another BJP leader Vinod Tawde said his party is holding a meeting of its core committee in evening. "I don't want to comment on the stand of the Sena. We are holding a core committee meeting. We will make our stand clear," he added.

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