Maharashtra: With unconditional backing of NCP BJP keeps Shiv Sena in suspense
NEW DELHI: BJP appears to have decided to keep Shiv
Sena in suspense while going ahead with government-formation with the
unconditional backing of NCP as Devendra Fadnavis emerged the front-runner in
Maharashtra and Manohar Lal Khattar in Haryana for the post of chief minister.
Hectic consultations marked the day starting with
discussions on Maharashtra between BJP chief Amit Shah and Union Minister Nitin
Gadkari, who hails from the state, on the strategy to be adopted in the wake of
unsolicited support from rival NCP.
Shah drove down to Gadkari’s residence and spent some
45 minutes there and the two worked out their further strategy on
government-formation in Maharashtra where the party fell short of a majority.
Maharashtra, where the party has fallen short of
majority by 22 seats in the 288-member Assembly, presented a strange problem
for BJP which has to decide on whether to completely dump its 25-year-old
saffron partner Shiv Sena and tacitly take NCP’s support.
While BJP broke its alliance with Shiv Sena before the
elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a blistering attack on NCP
during the election campaign but spared Shiv Sena.
The ego clash that had sparked off the split in the
saffron alliance in Maharashtra appears to be playing a role in the post-poll
scenario too, say BJP sources.
The party is believed to be okay with NCP's support
and will go ahead and stake claim to form the government after electing its
leader of the BJP Legislature Party tomorrow.
There is a view in the party that it is not necessary
for BJP to produce the majority before government formation. Though there was
speculation of a back-channel talk between the two sides, there was no
confirmation if such an exercise was on.
In the midst of all this, the name of BJP's
Maharashtra chief Devendra Fadnavis emerged as the possible choice for the
Chief Minister's post overcoming challenge from other veterans including Eknath
Khadse and Vinod Tawde. Amit Shah's meeting with Gadkari raised speculation
that the Union Minister was in the race but it appeared to be ruled out by
The election of Legislature Party leaders in both the
states could not take place today in view of the fact that Union Ministers
Rajnath Singh (observer for Maharashtra) and M Venkaiah Naidu (for Haryana)
were in the capital till late in the night for a cabinet meeting, followed by a
meeting of the Council of Ministers.
In Haryana, BJP was faced with the issue of whether to
have a Jat or a non-Jat as Chief Minister. The name of Khattar, who has the
backing of RSS, was doing the rounds as the possible choice for the top post.
The fact that he is a Punjabi and a non-Jat adds
strength to his claims in a state which has been dominated all along by Jat
politics, partymen say. The others in the race are state BJP chief Rambilas
Sharma and Capt Abhimanyu besides some others.
The Haryana hopefuls were in the national capital
today and met with top party leaders including Shah. The party’s newly-elected
MLAs will meet in Chandigarh tomorrow at noon to elect their leader, who will
be the Chief Minister.
“The BJP Legislative Party in Haryana will meet
tomorrow at 12 noon at the UT State Guest House to elect its leader. BJP's
former president Venkaiah Naidu will be the observer for the meeting,” Jagdish
Mukhi, BJP’s in-charge for Haryana said.
He said it will be up to the new MLAs to elect their
leader and the name of the party's chief ministerial candidate will be decided
tomorrow who is likely to take oath before Diwali. “We are hopeful of having a
chief minister in place ahead of Diwali,” he said.
BJP won 47 seats in 90-member Haryana assembly while
the party won 122 seats in Maharashtra in the 288-member state Assembly.