Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday evening invited the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the new government in the state, PTI reported. The BJP had emerged as the single-largest party following the Maharashtra Assembly elections, winning 105 seats in the 288-seat legislature.

The Raj Bhavan said in a statement that the governor asked caretaker Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to “indicate the willingness and ability of his party to form the government”. The statement added that since no party had come forward to form the government, the governor decided to explore the possibility on Saturday.

The term of the Maharashtra Assembly ends on Saturday, and President’s Rule may have to be declared in the state if no government is formed.

The BJP had formed an alliance with the Shiv Sena prior to the Assembly elections, results of which were declared on October 24. The Shiv Sena won 56 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party 54 seats and its alliance partner the Congress 44.

However, the Shiv Sena cited an alleged 50:50 power-sharing formula it had agreed on with the BJP prior to the Lok Sabha elections. It demanded the chief minister’s post for two and a half years, a demand that the BJP rejected. The BJP claimed that such a power-sharing agreement had never been made, and because of the tussle, the alliance was not able to stake claim to form a government.

With no resolution in sight, Fadnavis resigned as the chief minister on Friday with just a day to go for the end of the Assembly’s term. He accused the Shiv Sena of criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, which he said was unacceptable. In response, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray retorted that it was the first time anybody in his family had been accused of lying.

Earlier on Saturday, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut claimed that his party would prioritise the Ram temple matter ahead of the formation of a government in the state. He was referring to the Supreme Court verdict earlier in the day, which ruled that the disputed site in Ayodhya be handed over to a trust in order to build a temple.

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