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Crisis continues in M’rashtra as Sena adamant on CM post

Mumbai: The impasse over government formation in Maharashtra continued on Friday, eight days after assembly poll results were announced, with the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena party demanding the chief minister’s post for 2.5 years and 50:50 division of portfolios even as the Congress targeted the BJP for “cheating” the Shiv Sena.

Maharashtra may head for President’s rule if the new government in the state is not in place by November 7, Finance Minister and BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said. The tenure of the existing legislative assembly ends on November 8.

Mungantiwar said the delay in talks between BJP and Sena was due to the Diwali festival, adding parleys will start in a day or two.

“People of Maharashtra have given mandate not to any party but to the Mahayuti (alliance comprising BJP, Shiv Sena and other parties),” he said. “Our alliance is stronger than Fevicol or Ambuja Cement,” he added.

“A new government will have to be in place within the stipulated time, or else the President will have to intervene. President’s rule will be imposed if the government formation doesn’t happen in the given time,” Mungantiwar said.

The Shiv Sena demanded immediate relief for farmers affected by unseasonal rains in parts of the state.

Maharashtra will have chief minister from the Shiv Sena, senior party leader Sanjay Raut said. Talking to reporters here, he said there have been no talks yet between the BJP and Sena on government formation. If the Sena decides, it can get the required numbers to form a stable government in Maharashtra, he said. People have given mandate to form government on the basis of “50:50 formula” that was reached in front of the people of Maharashtra, Raut said.

In the just-held state polls, the BJP won 105 seats, while the Sena got 56 in the 288-member Assembly. The NCP got 54 and the Congress 44 seats.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party is demanding the chief minister’s post for 2.5 years and 50:50 division of portfolios. Both these demands have been rejected by the BJP, which has insisted that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will continue to hold the post for the next five years.

The NCP will try to give an alternative if the BJP and the Shiv Sena fail to form government in Maharashtra, the opposition party’s chief spokesperson, Nawab Malik, said on Friday.

Malik’s comment came even as senior party leader Ajit Pawar has maintained the NCP will sit in the opposition along with the Congress.

Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam criticised his party leaders who are mulling supporting the Shiv Sena in formation of the next government in Maharashtra. “Congress should not get into Shiv Sena-BJP drama. It’s fake. It’s their temporary fight to grab more power share,” said the ex-MP, who is miffed with party leadership over ticket distribution for the October 21 polls. “To the best of my understanding, Shiv Sena will never come out of BJP’s shadow,” said Nirupam, who was associated with the Bal Thackeray-founded party before joining the Congress.

Meanwhile, senior state Congress leaders were in Delhi on Friday to apprise the party leadership of the political situation in Maharashtra.

MPCC chief Balasaheb Thorat said there is political instability in the state and blamed the BJP for the same. “Our stand now is wait and watch,” Thorat said.

His predecessor and former chief minister Ashok Chavan said the BJP has cheated the Shiv Sena as is evident from the senior ruling alliance partner not willing to abide by what was decided between the two parties before the elections.

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