Mumbai: Since the assembly elections in Maharashtra triggered a power tussle in the state between the BJP and its ally Shiv Sena, Sharad Pawar’s NCP has chosen to play the waiting game. In the news for meetings with Sena’s Sanjay Raut and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Pawar has kept his cards close to his chest.
However, party sources aware of the political developments have said the NCP, buoyed by its impressive performance in the elections where it bagged 54 seats — 13 more than its tally in 2014 — is willing to think of an alliance with the Shiv Sena with the external support of the Congress if the lone Sena minister in the Modi cabinet resigns.
The sources said the NCP was ready to offer the chief minister’s post to the Uddhav Thackeray-led party for five years if it walked out of the alliance with the BJP. Another likely scenario could be a Sena chief minister assisted by two deputy CMs — one from the Sena and another from NCP.
“NCP does not want the chief minister’s chair. We will settle for important portfolios,” the source said, adding that there had been no such proposal from the Sena yet. They also clarified that Ram Mandir would not be an issue for the proposed alliance as “our stated position is the support of court's judgement”.
On Tuesday, Sena leader Sanjay Raut reiterated that the state's next chief minister would be from his party. He said the politics of Maharashtra was changing and his party would win in its fight for justice. Amid reports of the Shiv Sena making friendly overtures to the NCP, Raut said Pawar will not be the next chief minister of the state.
The BJP and Shiv Sena are locked in a bitter tussle over the issue of chief minister's post, resulting in a stalemate in government formation despite results of the Assembly polls on October 24 giving the saffron alliance a combined seat strength of 161, way past the 145 majority mark in the 288-member House. In the polls, the BJP won 105 seats, Shiv Sena-56, NCP-54 and Congress-44.
The Sena has claimed that the BJP agreed on a ’50-50’ power-sharing formula ahead of the elections and after the mandate, it should fulfil its promise. The party wants
Raut has been upping the ante against the BJP, saying his party should not be compelled to look for an alternative to form the next government in Maharashtra. He also asserted there are "no saints in politics".