With no Congress-NCP-Sena alliance yet, BJP all set for ‘Op Lotus’ in Maharashtra

This is a clear indication that the BJP, which won 105 seats in the state elections, may embark on ‘Operation Lotus’ in Maharashtra, on the lines of the one they managed in Karnataka, to get the requisite numbers to prove their majority.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah(PTI file photo)
Union Home Minister Amit Shah(PTI file photo)
Updated on Jul 22, 2020 11:19 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By, Mumbai

With the President’s rule imposed in Maharashtra and the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in no rush to support a Sena-led government, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is back in the saddle in the political game. As the single largest party, the BJP will now use the time to try and form the next government.

The party won 105 seats and is 40 legislators short of reaching the majority mark of 145 in the 288-member house. It will not just try to win over a majority of the 29 independent legislators but also legislators from other parties.

“I met Devendra Fadnavis and he told me that we should try to form our government. We will do whatever is possible to form the government. I will assist my party in this process. I don’t think the Sena can go with the Congress-NCP. They [Sena] are being fooled,” said former chief minister and BJP leader Narayan Rane.

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This is a clear indication that the BJP may embark on ‘Operation Lotus’ in Maharashtra, on the lines of the one they managed in Karnataka, to get the requisite numbers to prove their majority.

A senior BJP leader had told HT on Monday that in case of the President’s rule, the party would tap Sena as well as Congress legislators to bolster its support.

On Tuesday, after the core committee meeting of the BJP, however, senior party leaders said they were in wait-and-watch mode.

“We are keeping a close watch on the political developments in the state. So, far the Congress-NCP has not given their support to the Sena or even met Sena leaders. We discussed all these developments in detail,” said senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar.

Mungantiwar spoke to the media after holding a core committee meeting late on Tuesday evening.

He also blamed the Sena for the Presidential rule in Maharashtra, saying it was an insult to the mandate of the people and a result of “someone’s stubbornness while forming the government”.

Mungantiwar backed the Governor’s recommendation of President’s rule, pointing out that no party had staked claim to form a government since the state Assembly results.

“Those who claimed they had the support of other parties, failed to submit support letters of allies. We too had sought 24 hours more from the Governor and were denied that extension,” Mungantiwar added, in a jibe to Sena.

While senior state BJP leaders said they would not take the initiative to open communication channels with the Shiv Sena, a few mediators between the two camps are already pushing the two parties to begin talks.

There were reports earlier in the day that even a leading industrialist had approached the Sena to reach out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi directly to patch up with its ally, BJP.

Meanwhile, reacting to the President’s rule, former CM Fadnavis and leader of the BJP, said, “It is unfortunate that the state had to face Presidential rule, despite a clear mandate given by people to Mahayuti. I hope the state will soon get a stable government. There are several issues facing Maharashtra, primarily agrarian distress owing to unseasonal rain.”

“The instability in the state will also have an impact on investments. The state’s day-to-day governance can also be impacted and as such, I hope all political parties consider this seriously and provide a stable government soon.”


    Ketaki Ghoge is an associate editor with Hindustan Times. Based in Mumbai, she covers politics and governance in Maharashtra. Journalist for the last 13 years, Ketaki enjoys dicing government policies, administration and analysing politics of the day.

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