BJP president and Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday emphatically rejected charges by Congress and NCP leaders that they were denied their "democratic right" to form a government in Maharashtra. The BJP chief said, "the Governor waited for 18 days after notification of the new assembly for some party to come forward and stake claim. Any party or formation of parties could have approached the Governor."
Shah said, "the invites to explore government formation were sent out by the Governor only when the term of the outgoing assembly ended on November 9, and yet no party could show the requisite numbers to stake claim. Every party asked for extra 1-2 days..Now they have six months. They can approach the Governor any time still now if they have the numbers."
The BJP chief, for the first time, spoke out on what went wrong with the Shiv Sena. He said, "before the elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I said several times in public that if our alliance wins, Devendra Fadnavis will be the chief minister. No one objected at that time...Now that some new terms are being raised, our party has some reservations and we will discuss these at an appropriate time. "
Amit Shah's clarifications have come at the right time. For the last 18 days, Shiv Sena leaders had gone to town claiming that Shah had promised 50:50 power share, meaning two and a half years each for both alliance partners and that he had agreed to give the CM post to the Shiv Sena.
On Wednesday, Shah clarified that the conditions laid down by Shiv Sena were not acceptable to his party. By saying that "one should not discuss in public what is spoken inside closed rooms", the BJP chief has sent out the message that he is not interested in a public debate on this issue.
It is now clear that all the parties in Maharashtra have six months' time to explore ways and means for government formation. Amit Shah's remarks on Wednesday also indicated that the BJP has not completely opted out from the race.
As far as Shiv Sena is concerned, its supremo Uddhav Thackeray has made the chief minister's post an issue of prestige. He will need the support of both the NCP and the Congress. Sharad Pawar and Ahmed Patel are experienced politicians and they know this very well. Shiv Sena may have to accept most of the conditions that will be laid down by both these parties, and this could create problems in future for the saffron party.
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