Without progress in the formation of the Maharashtra government as BJP, Shiv Sena refuses to yield

MUMBAI: The wait for a new government in Maharashtra continued on Thursday, with the BJP no claim and an aggressive Shiv Sena stand firm in the rotation of the post of prime minister.

Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, who has not blinked in the prolonged battle of nerves with the alliance partner, said the party led by Amit Shah should approach him only if he is ready to give Sena CM's post.

On Thursday, Thackeray chaired a meeting of the new Sena MLA for more than an hour, during which lawmakers reiterated that the equitable distribution of positions and responsibilities formula agreed before the Lok Sabha surveys should be implemented.

The Sena MLA passed a resolution authorizing Uddhav Thackeray to take a definitive decision on the formation of the government in Maharashtra.

After the meeting, held at the residence of Thackeray Bandra 'Matoshree', lawmakers went to the Rangsharda Hotel, near the house of the party chief, where they were transferred amid uncertainty about the formation of the government and the fear of changing on the side

It is necessary that all MLAs be together in the prevailing situation. Any decision Uddhavji makes will be binding on all of us, said Sunil Prabhu of Sena MLA.

The threats and blackmail will not work now, said Sena deputy Sanjay Raut, who has been the public face of the new belligerence of the party during the last fortnight.

We also have options (to form a government), he said, but did not give more details.

The results of the October 21 assembly survey were declared on October 24.

Maharashtra's defense attorney, General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, met with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in Raj Bhavan in the midst of the latter's speech to intervene to anoint an interim CM if no one is willing to form the new government before I finish the period of this assembly in two days.

In Nagpur, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis should head the new government as he has been elected head of state BJP legislature party, and ruled out his assuming the state's top job.

He also said that the head of RSS, Mohan Bhagwat, should not be linked to government formation movements in Maharashtra.

Senior leaders of Maharashtra BJP met Koshyari in Mumbai to discuss legal aspects of the delay in formation of a government in the state.

Those who met Koshyari included minister and state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and ministers Sudhir Mungantiwar and Girish Mahajan.

We discuss the legal aspects of the current situation with the governor. We will hold conversations with our leaders and decide on the next course of action, he said.

Anant Kalse, former chief secretary of the state legislature, said the responsibility lies with Governor Koshyari to act if no party claims to claim the formation of the new government.

If no party shows up, the governor can invite the largest party to form the government, Kalse said.

If that party shows its inability to form the new government, then the governor will invite the second largest party to form the government, Kalse said. The governor will have to carry out these modalities, he told a television channel.

The decision to hold the first session of the new assembly is taken at the first cabinet meeting of the new government, he said. The holding of the session is the responsibility of the cabinet, he added.

The results of the assembly survey have been notified by the Electoral Commission. The new assembly will come into existence according to constitutional provisions, he said.

Until the new CM takes an oath, the session of the new assembly cannot be convened, Kalse said.

After the new government makes a proposal, the governor calls the session of the new assembly in which all the new MLAs have sworn, he said.

There is no provision of a provisional government under the Constitution, but there have been such incidents even at the Center, he said.

Tenure of a provisional government is a gray area, but the new government will have to be formed soon, he said.

The former general defender of Maharashtra, Shrihari Aney, said it is a long time before one can think about imposing the president's government on the state.

There are many options and actions that must be taken before reaching that decision, Aney said.

There is no legal provision that states that the new government should be formed before November 9, once the tenure of the present assembly ends, Aney said.

The BJP and Shiv Sena are locked in a tussle over the issue of the chief minister's post, resulting in a stalemate in government formation despite results of the assembly polls giving the alliance a combined seat strength of 161, way past the 145 majority mark in the 288-member House.

In the polls, the BJP won 105 seats, Shiv Sena 56, NCP 54 and the Congress won 44 seats.

The Congress on Thursday questioned the BJP - Shiv Sena alliance's moral right to form government in Maharashtra if the Sena fears poaching of its MLAs by its senior ally.

The Nationalist Congress Party claimed that the MLAs were being approached with incentives to change the field.