Maharashtra standoff: As Shiv Sena plays hardball, Praful Patel says NCP’s mandate to sit in opposition

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Updated: Oct 31, 2019 9:46 AM

NCP leader Praful Patel's remark comes in the midst of a tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party and its partner Shiv Sena over the share of the power.

NCP seats in maharashtra, maharashtra government formation Praful Patel made it clear that the people’s mandate for NCP is to sit in the opposition.

Senior NCP leader Praful Patel on Wednesday virtually ruled out exploring options to form the government with the support of Shiv Sena. He said that the mandate of the people for his party is to sit in the opposition. Patel, however, added that his party will take steps with regard to forming the next government only if the political equations in the state change drastically.

The NCP leader’s remark comes in the midst of a tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party and its partner Shiv Sena over the share of the power. The alliance enjoys a comfortable majority of 161 seats in the 288-member Legislative Assembly. However, the two are locked into a battle over CM’s chair with the Shiv Sena threatening to explore other options if it did not have its way.

“The people’s mandate is for us to sit in the Opposition. If the situation changes, then we will see,” Praful Patel said.

The NCP has 54 MLAs while the Congress has 44. If the Congress and NCP, which contested the elections together, decide to extend support to the Shiv Sena, it will go beyond the halfway mark. However, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has made it clear that though the other options were open to him, the Shiv Sena and BJP share the common thread of Hindutva.

The Congress party too has said that it will consider the prospects if Shiv Sena seeks its support to form the government in the state.

“We have not received any concrete proposal from the Shiv Sena. We will not take a lead on it. But if a concrete proposal comes from the Sena, we will consider it and discuss it with the high command,” he said.

The Shiv Sena and BJP are currently locked into a battle over distribution power in the state. The Shiv Sena is insisting that the BJP honour its promise of the 50-50 formula, which would translate into rotational chief ministership between both parties for 2.5 years each. However, BJP leader and outgoing Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has made it clear that he will remain the CM for five years and there was no promise made to Shiv Sena with regard to the CM’s post.

The Shiv Sena has been claiming that the 50-50 formula was agreed between BJP president Amit Shah, Fadnavis and Uddhav ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in April-May.

Meanwhile, Shah on Wednesday cancelled his Mumbai visit in view of the heightened unease in the alliance. The BJP won 105 seats, 17 less than its 2014 tally when it contested the elections solo. The Shiv Sena’s tally also came down to 56 from 63 in 2014.

Notably, the term of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly will expire on November 9 and a new government should take charge before that, else the President’s rule will automatically come into effect.

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