Maharashtra: Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant resigns as Union minister, attacks BJP
Sawant, the only Shiv Sena member in the central government, said he will address a press conference at 11 am.
Shiv Sena MP and Union Minister of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises Arvind Sawant resigned from his post in the central government on Monday. In a tweet, Sawant said he was resigning because the Bharatiya Janata Party had gone back on its promise to implement the 50:50 seat sharing formula following the Maharashtra Assembly elections.
“Before the Lok Sabha elections, the formula for seat-sharing and power-sharing had been decided,” Sawant tweeted. “Both parties had agreed to it. The [BJP’s] act of denying this formula and implying that the Shiv Sena is lying is shocking as well as a taint upon the self-respect of Maharashtra.”
“The Shiv Sena stands on the side of truth,” Sawant added. “Why should I be part of the government in Delhi amid this environment of falsehood? And so I have decided to resign from my post as a Union minister. I will address a press conference at 11 am in this regard.”
The BJP had won 105 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, when election results were declared on October 24. The Shiv Sena, an alliance partner of the BJP, won 56 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party 54 seats and the Congress 44 seats.
However, the BJP and Shiv Sena failed to form the government following the polls as the Sena demanded the chief minister’s post for 2.5 years and 50% of the ministries in the Maharashtra Cabinet – demands that the BJP was not willing to concede.
Last week, Devendra Fadnavis resigned as the chief minister, and attacked the Shiv Sena for criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. In response, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that this was the first time anybody had accused his family of lying.
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday invited the BJP to form the government. However, the next day, the BJP said it did not have the numbers to form the government. Following this, Koshyari asked the Shiv Sena to come forward.
The Shiv Sena has indicated its willingness to form the government earlier too. On Sunday, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that though the party’s ideology was different from that of the Congress, the grand old party was not its enemy.
Nationalist Congress Party may support Shiv Sena with conditions
The Nationalist Congress Party on Sunday laid down conditions before the Shiv Sena if it wanted its support to form the government in Maharashtra, The Indian Express reported. Nationalist Congress Party’s Mumbai chief Nawab Malik said that the Shiv Sena must snap ties with the BJP, quit the National Democratic Alliance, while Sawant must resign and the two parties must evolve a common programme.
Nawab Malik made the remarks before the governor invited the Shiv Sena to form the government.
“If they are agreeable to these conditions and send us an official proposal, we are willing to consider it,” Malik said. “Our legislators are meeting on November 12, where this can be discussed threadbare and a firm decision taken.”
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar had earlier rejected the possibility of supporting the Shiv Sena, saying that the people had mandated that the NCP sit in the Opposition.
Following the governor’s invite to the Shiv Sena to form the government, its MLA and Maharashtra Cabinet minister Eknath Shinde, senior Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders held a meet to review the evolving situation.
Though interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi had decided against supporting the Shiv Sena, the party high command has decided to send senior leaders Madhusudan Mistry and M Veerappa Moily to Jaipur to meet its newly elected MLAs, The Indian Express reported. The Congress had shifted its MLAs to Jaipur after accusing the BJP of trying to poach them.
Infighting continues in Mumbai Congress
Meanwhile, infighting within the Mumbai Congress leadership continued on Sunday. Mumbai Congress leader Milind Deora tweeted that the governor must invited the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance to form the Maharashtra government, now that the BJP-Shiv Sena have refused to do so. In response, his rival Sanjay Nirupam said an alliance with the Shiv Sena would be disastrous for the Congress.
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