Even as Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who was touring unseasonable rain affected areas in Marathwada on Tuesday, reiterated that the next chief minister of Maharashtra would be from the Sena, caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis flew to Nagpur after 9 pm, apparently in a last ditch effort to save the BJP-SS alliance and his own chair.
Significantly, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who was also in Nagpur, had a meeting with the RSS Secretary Suresh Bhaiyaji Joshi during the day, fueling speculation that he could replace Fadnavis as the chief minister.
Meanwhile, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has called a press conference on Wednesday at 12.30 pm, adding to the prevailing confusion.
Meanwhile, the NCP and the INC submitted a memorandum to the Governor.(See link)
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are believed to have firmly told the Sena that there would be no compromise on the chief minister’s post. Instead, it has offered the Sena two of the four important portfolios, Finance, Home, Urban Development and Revenue.
Although the results of the Maharashtra Assembly election were declared on October 24, the ruling alliance partners have not been able to form the government. For the last 12 days, Shiv Sena has been publicly saying that senior partner BJP should honour its verbal commitments made to the Sena. “ I am not a liar,” Uddhav Thackeray is reported to have told his confidantes, insisting that he had been assured of a 50:50 share in the ministry, if the alliance came to power. The Sena has also been staking its claim to the chief minister’s office for the first half of the five year term. BJP, it has been saying, could then have its own CM for the remaining period.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is said to share a cordial relationship with the Sena chief. In 2014 also it was Bhagwat who had mediated between the alliance partners. And Uddhav Thackeray had returned the favour by proposing Mohan Bhagwat’s name as NDA’s Presidential candidate. The alliance eventually settled for Ram Nath Kovind.
BJP’s central leadership appears to have abandoned Fadnavis, allowing him to dial up numbers and negotiate with the SS.
The Governor’s role has also raised eyebrows because of his failure to invite the single largest party, the BJP to form the Government and prove its majority on the floor of the House. The Constitution, say observers, does not specify that the Governor would wait for a party or combination to stake its claim first.