New Delhi: There was no final word on the formation of Maharashtra government even on Thursday, exactly a week after the results of the October 21 Assembly Elections were announced, as tussle over the Chief Minister’s post continued between winning allies Shiv Sena and BJP, with the latter adamant over its demand that the ’50-50′ formula agreed upon between the two parties be implemented.
Earlier in the day, in a surprising move, senior Sena leader Eknath Shinde was elected as its legislative party leader instead of Thackeray family scion Aaditya, who won from Worli in his debut elections. The development came a day after incumbent Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was elected as the BJP’s legislative party leader.
Later in the day, a Sena delegation comprising Aaditya Thackeray, Eknath Shinde and Ramdas Kadam called on Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari in what the younger Thackeray described as a meet to discuss issues being faced by farmers and fishermen in the wake of heavy rains in the state recently.
However, arguably the most surprising development took place late night as Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who has been the most vocal proponent from his party for the 50-50 formula, met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, in what the former described as a courtesy meet on the occasion of Diwali and to discuss political developments in the state. The meet came amid reports that talks between Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP combine are going on amid delay in government formation in the state.
The NCP has repeatedly said that it won’t ally with the Sena and would instead sit on the Opposition benches as that is the mandate given to it by the voters. The Congress, meanwhile, has said that it would convey to its top leadership if an offer were to come from the Sena.
The BJP-Sena alliance won 161 seats in the 288-member Assembly, well over the majority mark of 145 but 24 less than their combined tally from the 2014 state polls. The ’50-50 formula’, which the Sena, claims was agreed upon earlier this year during talks over seat-sharing for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, would see the Chief Minister’s post being shared between the two allies for a period of 30 months or two-and-a-half-years each.
There have also been reports of the BJP offering a ‘13-26 formula‘ to its junior ally. Under this formula, the Sena will be given the Deputy Chief Minister post along with some major portfolios. However, major ministries, as well as the Chief Minister’s post, will stay with the BJP.