The Maharashtra BJP's core committee met on Sunday after the governor invited it to form government, senior party leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said, but did not divulge what transpired at the meeting. He said they would hold another round of discussions later in the day following which a decision would be taken.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday evening asked the BJP, the single largest party in the new Assembly, to "indicate the willingness and ability" to form government. The BJP's core committee, comprising caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, state unit head Chandrakant Patil, and senior leaders Girish Mahajan, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Ashish Shelar and Pankaja Munde, met at 11 am on Sunday to decide the future course of action, Mungantiwar told reporters.
Without giving any details of what was discussed in the meeting, he said, "The BJP will hold another round of meeting at 4 pm today following which we will communicate our decision to the governor and also make it public." The BJP won 105 seats in the October 21 elections, while the majority mark in the 288-member Assembly is 145. Its ally Shiv Sena won 56 seats, but the two parties are bickering over the chief minister's post.
The term of the 13th state Assembly ended on Saturday. On Friday, after Fadnavis resigned as chief minister and was asked by the governor to continue as caretaker CM, the two allies had a bitter showdown over what was decided mutually about the top post during their negotiations before the Lok Sabha polls held earlier this year.
While Fadnavis claimed the BJP never promised to share the chief minister's post with its ally, Shiv Sena head Uddhav Thackeray maintained that assurance of equal sharing of all posts was given, and the BJP must not portray him as a liar. The Shiv Sena has shifted most of its 56 MLAs to a hotel in suburban Malad, apparently to guard them against 'poaching' attempts.
Besides, all 44 Congress MLAs from Maharashtra are at a resort in Jaipur in the party-ruled Rajasthan amid similar fears. Both the Congress and its ally NCP on Saturday said the governor should have taken the decision to ask the BJP to indicate its willingness to form government much earlier. The NCP also said it would vote against the BJP if there is a floor test.
Further, it could think of an "alternative" if the Shiv Sena too voted against the BJP, NCP's chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said.
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