BJP-Shiv Sena fights in Maharashtra: possible scenarios

NEW DELHI: Government formation continues in limbo with the partner of the BJP alliance and Shiv Sena locked in a bitter dispute over certain issues, including the office of the prime minister.

Results for the Oct 21 assembly election were announced three days later on October 24 - BJP won 105 seats, its alliance partner Shiv Sena bagged 56, while the opposition NCP got 54 and its alliance partner Congress managed 44. The majority mark in the 288 -member assembly is 145.

These are the possible scenarios on the formation of the government in the state:

1. BJP forms government with Shiv Sena support: This was the plan before the election, but it's now gone awry, with BJP bagging less than expected seats, keeping in mind pre-poll projections. The Shiv Sena is playing hard ball, but the view in BJP circles is that Sena would have to make it clear that it is ready to discuss issues without pre-conditions. BJP seemed to be in no mood to give in on demands such as 50:50 share in ministries or splitting the CM's term.

2. As the largest party, BJP claims the formation of the government and has to prove the majority on the floor of the House within 15 days. The party will use this time to improvise the numbers.

3. BJP gets some legislators/party to abstain during floor test, or the Shiv Sena splits, with a faction backing BJP, ensuring the Fadnavis govt wins the floor test. According to Independent MLA Ravi Rana who has extended support to the BJP, 25 Sena MLAs are in touch with CM Fadnavis and would join the government led by Fadnavis if the Sena decides to sit in opposition.

4. However, if Fadnavis fails to secure a majority, then as the second-largest party, Sena may stake claim with direct or outside support from the Congress-NCP. Senior Shiv Sena leader on Tuesday reiterated that Maharashtra's next CM would be from the party. Meanwhile, NCP chief Sharad Pawar met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday fueling speculation on government formation in the state, and the possibility that the opposition alliance could back Sena to keep BJP out of power.

5. NCP forms the government with the support of Congress and the external support of Sena. If the stalemate between Sena and BJP reaches the breaking point, the party led by Uddhav Thackeray may agree to support a government headed by the PCN.

6. If BJP, Sena, Congress and the PCN fail to form a government, then the president's government is imposed. The tenure of the current legislative assembly ends on November 8.