The Shiv Sena on Saturday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of “horse-trading under the guise of President’s Rule” in Maharashtra after the saffron party appeared confident about forming the next government, PTI reported.

In an article in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena criticised former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s remarks that its alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress would not last longer than six months, saying the new political equation was giving a “stomach ache to several people”.

State BJP chief Chandrakant Patil on Friday claimed that it would be impossible for any party to form government in Maharashtra without the support of the BJP. “It is the single largest party with 105 seats and has the support of 14 Independents MLAs. It has 119 seats,” he said.

Referring to his statement’s, the Sena said: “Those with 105 seats had earlier conveyed to the governor that they do not have the majority. How come are they now claiming that only they will form the government?”

“...The intention of horse-trading stand exposed now,” Shiv Sena said. “The lies of those promising transparent governance are becoming evident now,” it said, adding that “unethical” ways do not suit the tradition of the state.

The editorial also attacked Union minister Nitin Gadkari for comparing the political situation in the state to a game of cricket. “Anything can happen in cricket and politics,” Gadkari had said on Friday. “Somewhere you feel you are losing the match, but the result is exactly the opposite.”

The Sena’s editorial said cricket today has become “more business” than a sport, and compared match fixing to that of horse-trading. “Hence, the suspicion is always there whether it is the game that wins or the fixing [in cricket],” the party said. “Hence, Gadkari likening Maharashtra politics to the romantic game of cricket is appropriate.”

The Shiv Sena, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party were to meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at 4.30 pm. However, the meeting has been postponed until further notice, ANI reported.

Meanwhile, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik questioned why the BJP had not formed the government earlier if it had the numbers as claimed by its state unit chief. “None can form government [in Maharashtra] without the backing of at least 145 MLAs,” he said. “They [BJP] do not have their own MLAs, it brought leaders from other parties into its fold.”

Malik said the saffron party was not afraid that “these MLAs [who joined them from other parties] will defect”. He claimed the ruling party was making these statements to keep its legislators together.

“The former chief minister is trying to boost the morale of his party workers like the general of a defeated army,” the NCP leader told reporters, according to NDTV. “We think they have been defeated and they will have to accept this. They are not ready to accept defeat, but one takes time.” Mr Malik said.

Maharashtra logjam

The Assembly election results were announced on October 24. The Bharatiya Janata Party had emerged as the single-largest party with 105 seats in the 288-member Assembly. The Sena, with 56 seats, came second, while the NCP and the Congress won 54 and 44 constituencies.

However, the BJP and Shiv Sena could not form a government in alliance. The stalemate between the two parties was a result of the Shiv Sena’s demand for an equal number of Cabinet portfolios, and the chief minister’s post for two and a half years. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has claimed that the BJP had agreed to the power-sharing deal in the run-up to the General Elections in April and May.

The Shiv Sena also failed to get letters of support from Nationalist Congress Party and Congress. On Monday, the governor rejected Shiv Sena’s request for extra time to get letters of support and had invited the Nationalist Congress Party, the third largest party in the state, to stake claim to form government. However, hours before the deadline was to end on Tuesday, Koshyari recommended President’s Rule in the state. He had said a situation had arisen in which it was impossible to constitute a stable government.

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