Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said the Bharatiya Janata Party will get the support of alliance partner Shiv Sena for government formation in Maharashtra under the chief ministership of Devendra Fadnavis, ANI reported.
“There will be a decision soon,” Gadkari told reporters in Nagpur. “Government in Maharashtra should be formed under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis ji. We will get Shiv Sena support, we are in talks with them.”
Gadkari’s sudden flight to Nagpur – which is the headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – set off speculation that he was a candidate for the chief minister’s post. On Tuesday, Shiv Sena leader Kishore Tiwari had urged the RSS to depute Gadkari to resolve the power-sharing tussle with the BJP. He had also called for the Sangh, which is the ideological parent of the BJP, to take serious note of the political stalemate in the state.
However, Gadkari said: “RSS and Mohan Bhagwat Ji have no connection with this. It won’t be appropriate to link the RSS chief to the goings on [over government formation].”
He also ruled out any possibility of him returning to Maharashtra to be the next chief minister. “I will continue to work in Delhi,” he said.
“The BJP and Shiv Sena have got people’s mandate to form the new government,” Gadkari added.
A delegation of BJP leaders, including Maharashtra unit chief Chandrakant Patil and state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, will meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari later in the day.
Meanwhile, Mungantiwar said his party is not in favour of forming a minority government in the state. “Fadnavis is not just a BJP leader, but he should be seen as Sena’s chief minister as well,” he said. “There should be no doubt about his leadership and acceptance across the party lines.”
He also dismissed rumours that Gadkari may be appointed as the state’s chief minister. “Nitin ji will never come to Maharashtra,” Mungantiwar said. “It is not even his distant dream to come to Maharashtra as chief minister.”
Maharashtra has been in a political deadlock since October 24 when the results to the Assembly polls were announced.The Sena has demanded an equal division of Cabinet portfolios, and the chief minister’s post for half of the government’s five-year term. The BJP has refused to acquiesce to the demand.
The deadline for the government formation in the state is Saturday. The term of the 13th Assembly will end then. If a new government is not formed by then, President’s Rule can be declared.
The BJP won only 105 seats in the Assembly polls last month, compared to 122 in 2014. The BJP and the Shiv Sena’s combined tally in the 288-seat Maharashtra Assembly stands at 161.
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