New Delhi: There are less than 72 hours left before the tenure of the Maharashtra assembly comes to an end but no resolution in sight for the fortnight-long impasse over government formation in the state. It now remains to be seen how swiftly stakeholders act to resolve the deadlock.
There was heavy speculation after Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel met Union minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nitin Gadkari early on Wednesday. Patel, however, clarified to reporters that the meeting had no connection with Maharashtra politics and was instead about farmer issues.
The development was significant as it followed chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ meeting with Gadkari on Monday in the national capital, and then another meeting with Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur late on Tuesday.
While the two alliance partners have a clear majority, with BJP having secured 100 seats and the Shiv Sena 56, the parties have not been able to reach an agreement on ministerial portfolios. At the heart of the tussle is Shiv Sena's demand of 50-50 power sharing and a rotational chief ministerial post. While senior BJP leaders on Monday indicated that the two parties could be closer to striking a deal, there has been no official announcement yet.
While government formation can happen even after the tenure of assembly ends, the decision of what happens next rests with Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari. According to leaders aware of development, Koshiyari can decide on recommending president's rule in the state, or call the single largest party to form government and appoint Fadnavis as the caretaker chief minister.