As the drama continues in the state of Maharashtra over the formation of the government, Congress leaders from the state have reportedly warned interim president Sonia Gandhi that the party will be finished in Maharashtra if they fail to take this opportunity of forming an alliance government.
According to a Times of India report, the Congress leaders in the state have predicted a doomsday scenario for the party if they fail to tie up with Shiv Sena and NCP to form the next government in Maharashtra.
Reportedly, senior Congress leaders from the state, Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan, Balasaheb Thorat Manikrao Thakre and Rajani Patil has explained Sonia Gandhi the need of joining hands with the Shiv Sena to form the government and stressed the need to seize the opportunity offered by the collapse of the saffron coalition after the polls.
Following the meeting of Congress Working Committee in New Delhi on Monday, there was a slight indication that Sonia Gandhi may give up her firm opposition to a tie-up with Shiv Sena. Senior leaders from the state have communicated the restlessness among the elected Congress MLAs and urged the high command to take a decision on forming the government soon.
Reportedly, the newly elected Congress MLAs in Maharashtra are reportedly getting ‘aggressive’ as they have ‘won on their own’. The Congress MLAs are currently housed at a resort in Jaipur to prevent them from defection and probable poaching attempts.
However, the coalition with Shiv Sena is not a cakewalk for the Congress party as some senior AICC leaders have expressed their strong opposition, including veteran AK Antony, Mukul Wasnik and former home minister Shivraj Patil. These senior leaders are reportedly apprehensive over the political ramifications of a tie-up with an ideologically opposite party, given the Sena’s ‘Hindu’ image.
Citing the failure of the alliance with JD(S) in Karnataka, KC Venugopal has also expressed his reservations regarding an alliance with Sena. Importantly, Antony and Venugopal met Sonia on Tuesday morning again.
Even Sonia Gandhi was initially stated to be against an alliance with Sena but changed her position after state leaders warned her. She spoke to NCP chief Sharad Pawar to discuss the modalities of the alliance.
Reportedly, Sonia was upset after Maharashtra leaders were pushing her for an alliance on one side while Pawar was sitting on his decision stating that details had not been finalised yet. It was then that she decided a team of three leaders be sent to talk to Pawar and NCP leaders.
Earlier, Congress MLAs who are currently residing in a resort in Jaipur had expressed their support to an alliance with Shiv Sena to ‘keep BJP out of power’ in the state. The Congress MLAs had even written a letter to NCP urging to support the Shiv Sena- Congress-NCP alliance.
Shiv Sena had also hinted at the possibility of joining hands with the Congress to form the next government in Maharashtra. Speaking on the government formation in Maharashtra, Sanjay Raut had said, “If nobody is ready to form the government (in Maharashtra), then Shiv Sena can take the lead.”
The situation in the state of Maharashtra was in limbo as Shiv Sena failed to produce the majority needed to form a government in the state. After being assured of supporting the Shiv Sena-NCP government from outside, the Congress party, in a last-minute volte-face, denied extending their support to the Shiv Sena.
Even NCP also didn’t send the required letter of support to Shiv Sena. The Sena then sought 48 hours from the governor to prove the majority by procuring the letter from NCP and Congress.
The Governor then asked the third-largest party in the state-NCP to prove majority. Although they have been given time till 8.30 PM on Tuesday, the NCP failed to produce the requisite number of MLAs to stake a claim to the government.
As it became clear that no party will be able to form a government in the state of Maharashtra, the Governor of the state, Bhagat Singh Koshyari recommended the centre that President’s rule should be imposed in the state. Following the Governor’s recommendation, the centre has imposed President rule in Maharashtra.
Interestingly, though the Sena has now approached the Supreme Court against the governor’s decision, NCP and Congress have clarified that they had made no promises to Sena.
On Saturday, Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had invited Devendra Fadnavis of BJP to form the next government in the state, if they are willing to do so and have required numbers.
Devendra Fadnavis had resigned from the post of the chief minister a day ahead of his term was scheduled to end on Saturday. The governor had him asked to continue as acting-CM following his resignation.
In the October 21 polls, the BJP won 105 seats while ally Sena won 56 seats. The majority mark in the 288-member state Assembly is 145. NCP and Congress won 54 and 44 seats each.