Saffron alliance on brink as Sena hits back at BJP

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Maharashtra Governor invites BJP to indicate willingness to form government in state

On Saturday, as the term of the legislative assembly ended without any resolution, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited the BJP to form government. Shiv Sena, the BJP oldest and pre-poll ally, has 56 seats, the Congress 44 seats and NCP 54.

The Maharashtra Governor has asked outgoing chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to indicate the willingness and ability of his party to form the government in Maharashtra, a communication from the Governor's office stated. While speaking to Republic TV moments after the BJP's announcement, Memon said that some arrangements or some understandings among parties should be there as nobody wants a re-election - hinting that his party may be ready to act.

Besides the 105 members, the BJP has claimed the support of several Independents and smaller parties, though the exact figures are not clear and it is not known whether these would be sufficient to achieve the simple majority of 145 in the 288-member Assembly.

Governor Koshyari called upon the leader of elected members of the second largest party Shiv Sena, Eknath Shinde, to indicate the willingness and ability of his party to form the government in Maharashtra.

BJP and Shiv Sena went to elections as allies, but after results were announced, the Uddav Thackeray-led party demanded "50-50" sharing of CM's post. Without spelling anything out, Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party said it would "support a stable government".

Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai, November 8, 2019.

He also announced that the NCP will vote against the BJP on the floor test and thereafter plan its further political strategies. He said that Sena has betrayed the mandate of the people of Maharashtra.

"We always expected a strong stand of the BJP on Belagavi district with its counterpart (BJP) in the Karnataka government. This means that Uddhav Thackeray will decide who will become the next chief minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar will play an important role in this process", Sena leader Sanjay Raut said in a column in the party's mouthpiece, Saamana.

Without naming Fadnavis, Raut, in a fresh attack on the BJP leader, said, "When ways of threatening and seeking political support don't work, it is time to accept that Hitler is dead and the looming clouds of slavery have disappeared".

On Friday, with no end in sight to the standoff, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis submitted his resignation to the governor.

The Shiv Sena's claim of 50-50 government formula, asking for the chief minister's post of two and half years has not been accepted by the BJP.

The Congress rejected the idea of a President's rule in the state and said it is keeping an eye on recent developments.

"Those who used to threaten others with their power are now scared", he said in remarks laced with sarcasm.

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