Two newly elected Independent MLAs in Maharashtra have declared their support to the Bharatiya Janata Party, PTI reported on Monday. The BJP and its ally Shiv Sena are locked in a power tussle in the state.
Chandrapur MLA Kishor Jorgewar – a former Congress leader who defeated the BJP’s Nana Shyamkule by 72,000 votes – announced on Monday that he would support the saffron party. Badnera legislator Ravi Rana, who won the elections with the backing of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party alliance, had offered his support to the ruling party on Sunday.
“Yes, I have extended support to the BJP,” Rana told PTI. “Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is from Vidarbha and I, too, belong to the same region. He has done several developmental works and also approved a medical college for my constituency.”
Rana said he wanted “to be in the government and get work done for people” as being in the Opposition was of no use. “There will be no dispute [with NCP],” he added. “Had they [Congress-NCP] been able to form the government in the state, I would have stayed with them.”
The National Democratic Alliance, which includes the BJP, the Shiv Sena and some smaller parties, won the elections in Maharashtra. Despite being allies, the BJP and Shiv Sena are locked in a power tussle. The BJP won 105 seats, and the Shiv Sena 56. Together, the two parties can cross the majority mark of 145 in the legislature to form a government.
Rebel BJP MLA Geeta Jain, who contested as an Independent from the Mira-Bhayander seat and defeated the saffron party’s Narendra Mehta, had also extended her support to Fadnavis on Sunday. With the support of three Independents, the BJP will have 108 seats. Both the parties are trying to gain the support of the 13 Independent MLAs in the state in an effort to have an upper hand during negotiations.
The Shiv Sena is insisting on an equal power-sharing agreement with its senior partner in the Cabinet. The party has demanded a written assurance from the BJP that the chief minister’s post will be shared during the five-year term. Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray has warned the BJP that he will consider “other options” if the saffron party refuses to agree to its demand. Shiv Sena leaders have pointed out the party is in a commanding position to bargain better berths in the Cabinet after the results.
On Monday, Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote and Devendra Fadnavis met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari separately. However, both parties denied the meetings had anything to do with government formation.
Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.