MUMBAI: With the term of the previous Maharashtra assembly set to end on Saturday, the yet-unreconciled allies BJP and Shiv Sena have announced independent moves for Thursday.
While Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has summoned his party’s newly-elected 56 MLAs for talks at his residence in Bandra, senior BJP ministers Chandrakant Patil and Sudhir Mungantiwar will meet Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and stake the party’s claim to form the government.
BJP’s plan to go ahead with the swearing in of Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister and his council of ministers, minus the Sena, will expedite political developments in the state in the next few days, observers said.
Much depends on whether Fadnavis reaches the 145-mark during the Speaker’s election and whether the Sena comes forward with its claim, backed by the NCP-Congress, in case Fadnavis is defeated on the floor of the assembly, they pointed out.
Talking to mediapersons, Mungantiwar described the impending swearing in of Fadnavis as “sweet news” and added that “in view of the many problems farmers are facing, it is imperative that the new government be installed without further delay.”
Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who has been fiercely toeing an anti-BJP line at Thackeray’s behest, however said the “sweet news” will be that Maharashtra will have a Sena CM, suggesting his party was unwilling to budge from its stand that BJP and Sena should equally share ministerial portfolios and the chief minister’s post. The swearing in of Fadnavis and BJP ministers may be scheduled for Saturday.
The BJP high command, which is unwilling to placate Matoshree, is keeping its powder dry for President’s rule in Maharashtra should Fadnavis fail to muster the magic 145 figure during the floor test in the 288-strong assembly, sources said.
A bizarre situation has thus unfolded in state politics with both BJP and Sena playing moves and counter-moves to outmaneouvre each other to wrest power, while also planning conciliatory measures in a last-ditch attempt to keep the saffron ship afloat amid troubled waters.
BJP thinks Matoshree may be ready for a thaw in view of the gnawing unease among a section of the Sena’s newly-elected MLAs who are keen on joining the BJP regime in view of the escalating agrarian distress following unseasonal rain.

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