Maharashtra Guv Writes to Fadnavis to Explore Option of Forming Govt; Sena Welcomes Decision
Sharad Pawar's NCP said the governor's decision has come late and it would vote against the BJP if there is a floor test.
Devendra Fadnavis with Governor BS Koshyari on at the Raj Bhawan in Mumbai on Friday.
Mumbai: Amid the deteriorating ties between allies BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday wrote to caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to initiate the procedure of government formation.
As the single largest party, the BJP will be asked to prove its majority in the House.
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, said. "Our core committee will meet tomorrow and discuss the future course of action."
According to the Raj Bhavan statement, the governor asked 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.
Sena leader Sanjay Raut said Koshyari's decision to ask the BJP to indicate its willingness to form the government is a welcome step. "At least the governor has begun the process of exploring government formation. The BJP is the single largest party and the rightful claimant to form the government first," he said.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), in a statement later on Saturday evening, said the governor's decision has come late and it would vote against the BJP if there is a floor test. NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said that his party can think of an "alternative" if the Sena too voted against the BJP.
"The Governor has initiated the process late. He should have done it earlier," Malik said, adding that Koshyari should ensure the BJP has the numbers to prove its majority, and also see that there is no horse-trading if the BJP decides to take a floor test.
"The NCP will vote against the BJP in case it comes to floor test. The NCP will think of an alternative if the Shiv Sena votes against the BJP on the floor of the House and the government collapses," the Mumbai NCP chief added.
The state is caught in an impasse over government formation as the BJP and Sena, who together won enough seats in the October 21 state elections to come to power, are locked in a bitter tussle over the chief minister's post.
Fadnavis resigned as chief minister on Friday and was asked to continue in the caretaker's role.
The Congress and the NCP won 44 and 54 seats, respectively — they have said the ball is in the Governor's court, with NCP chief Sharad Pawar repeatedly stating that the mandate for them was to sit in the opposition.
"The BJP is not staking claim since it doesn't have the numbers to get its Speaker elected in the first session, which will have to be called for administering oath to the newly-elected members. The new government will also have to face a trust vote," state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat said.
The three-decade-old alliance between the BJP and its oldest ally, the Shiv Sena, appeared to be on shaky ground as Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray on Friday engaged in a blame game over sharing of the chief minister's post.
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