BJP goes all out behind the scenes for win

  • Dharmendra Jore, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Nov 12, 2014 00:13 IST

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expects the Shiv Sena to support its minority government in Wednesday's trust vote, the Devendra Fadnavis-led party is not taking any chances.
The BJP went into overdrive on Tuesday trying to work the numbers in their favour even without the Sena's support.

Even with the Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) commitment to support the BJP from outside, the BJP has a Plan B in place.

The Sena is the BJP's first choice for supporter because of their matching ideologies and experience of working in the previous alliance government. The Sena kept its options open on Tuesday evening, indicating strongly the two parties were still in discussion. The Sena has mounted pressure on the BJP by fielding a candidate for the Speaker's and Opposition leader's post. It may withdraw from the race once a settlement is reached by Wednesday morning.

It was clear on Tuesday the BJP was reluctant to accept 'tainted' NCP's support during the trust vote for fear it would be forced into returning the favour in the future. The BJP made it clear it has not asked the NCP for support.

A confident chief minister Devendra Fadnavis confirmed his Plan B. He claimed to have the support of 140 MLAs.

The BJP has 121 members. "We will have no problem whatsoever in winning the trust vote," he told HT. He said the BJP's national leaders were in talks with the Sena. "I am not authorised to talk on this issue," he said.

BJP national general secretary and Union minister of state Rajiv Pratap Rudy said in New Delhi his party would accept the support of anyone who is in favour of development in Maharashtra.
"There is no rift between the Sena and us. Prior to the elections, we did want them to come along with us, but that was not possible. Post the elections, we wanted the Sena to come along with us. There have been some hiccups, but anyone who wants to support the development of Maharashtra will be accepted by the BJP," the minister told ANI.

The ruling party claims to have the assured support of 132 MLAs - 122 votes from the BJP and ally Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, three from Bahujan Vikas Aghadi and 7 independents.

If Fadnavis is to be believed, then there are eight MLAs who have decided to abstain from voting, indirectly supporting the BJP. This means they will not vote for or oppose the BJP.

The parties who have decided to abstain include the Peasants and Workers Party (3) along with five MLAs from other smaller parties and the AIMIM (2). PWP's Jayant Patil confirmed this development to HT.

"We will not support the BJP government, but we will remain neutral. We will meet late Tuesday night to decide our strategy," he said. According to him, the parties that will go with PWP are AIMIM (2), Samajwadi Party (1), Bharipa Bahujan (1) and CPI-M (1).

The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (1) will either vote for the BJP or remain neutral, said BJP insiders. BJP denied having made efforts to break the Sena. "We are not in favour of splitting votes of the Sena legislators (in secret ballot for election of the Speaker). We want all of them [63] to support us," said Fadnavis.

Some BJP leaders, however, expected the Sena legislators to cross-vote though their party has issued a whip (directive to vote only for the Sena candidate Vijay Auti).

Along with Fadnavis, revenue minister Eknath Khadse, HRD minister Vinod Tawde, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, cooperation minister Chandrakant Patil and Union minister Nitin Gadkari have been negotiating deals with smaller parties and seven independents.

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