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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

BJP to meet Maharashtra Guv today but Uddhav Thackeray has the deciding vote

Till now the BJP has put up a brave face and termed it as posturing and bargaining tactics in an ongoing negotiation for better portfolios, even the Deputy Chief Minister-ship.

opinion Updated: Nov 07, 2019 13:07 IST
Sunetra Choudhury
Sunetra Choudhury
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BJP and Sena have been locked in a tussle over a power-sharing pact since the results of the Assembly elections were announced on October 24.
BJP and Sena have been locked in a tussle over a power-sharing pact since the results of the Assembly elections were announced on October 24. (Bachchan Kumar/HT File Photo )
         

New Delhi: It was two Thursdays ago that Maharashtra’s electorate made it clear that its vote wasn’t as predictable as it was made out to be. As BJP’s ministers Chandrakant Patil and Sudhir Mungantiwar meet the Governor today, they may stake claim to form the government again. “May”, because nothing till now has followed the script in these 2019 assembly elections, and all that we can do is to watch and report this game of old-style political perception and shadow boxing that’s unfolding in Mumbai and New Delhi (and sometimes in Nagpur, the seat of Devendra Fadnavis and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh).

As they head to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari’s door this afternoon, the BJP is at 105 seats in the 288-member assembly. Its leaders have never strayed from assertions of reaching the majority mark if 145, although their soundbytes have become fainter, and no one is able to provide the calculation of who is making up for the missing numbers. It should have been fairly easy—the BJP’s partner, the Shiv Sena, mopped up an impressive 56 seats and so the magic number was breached, but as positions have hardened, the Sena’s mouthpiece Samana has called Fadnavis “the outgoing Chief Minister”.

Also Watch l ‘Consensus on CM post reached before polls’: Shiv Sena refuses to budge 

Till now, the BJP has put up a brave face and termed the Sena’s stand as posturing and bargaining tactics in an ongoing negotiation for better portfolios, such as finance or revenue, or the deputy chief minister’s post. But privately, BJP leaders have asked, is it really okay to put up with friends such as this? Earlier all it used to take was a phone call from senior minister Rajnath Singh to sort things out, but did things change with Fadnavis at the helm?

One can dismiss the happenings over the last two weeks as not unusual tantrums by the Sena, the problem child in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) family, but there is too much happening to simply brush the confrontation away. The Sena’s outspoken leader, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, isn’t just limiting his jibes to quotes and editorials; he is even turning up at opposition leader Sharad Pawar’s residence - not once but twice.

For the first time, the Congress is actively considering supporting the Shiv Sena to form the government. Pawar may have completely overruled joining hands with the Sena, but several Congressmen say that this is their only chance, and that’s what its local leaders are telling Pawar too. If there is President’s Rule and a period of flux in the state, it may be the Congress’s 44 MLAs who begin to look for greener pastures. In light of this, the top Maharashtra Congress leadership sees this as the party’s only chance to fight the BJP—piggybacking on erstwhile adversary Shiv Sena.

They are all looking to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray for his next move. Will he give his friends in the BJP a break and settle for some plum posts? Or will politics in the state change radically?