Impasse in Maharashtra continues as Pawar rules out alliance with Sena

Impasse in Maharashtra continues as Pawar rules out alliance with Sena
Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar along with party leaders Jayant Patil and Sunil Tatkare addresses a press conference, in Mumbai, Wednesday. Photo: PTI

Mumbai: The stalemate between BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra entered the final phase on Wednesday after NCP president Sharad Pawar ruled out alliance with Sena to form a government with outside support of the Congress and said that his party would sit in the opposition.

The BJP and the Shiv Sena are locked in a tussle over the chief minister's post, resulting in a stalemate in government formation in the state.

With just two days left before the deadline for government formation in the state, the impasse continue despite results of the October 24 assembly polls giving the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance a combined strength of 161 seat, way past the required 145 majority mark in the 288-member Assembly.

Amid the controversy, both BJP and Shiv Sena ministers attended an official meeting chaired by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday to take stock of the rain situation in the state.

Rains wreaked havoc in several parts of Maharashtra, destroying about 70 lakh hectares of Kharif crop.

The ministers briefed the chief minister about the situation and submitted their suggestions, a statement from the Chief Minister's Office said here.

NCP rules out alliance with Sena

Earlier in the day, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar said that the only viable option is a Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government in the state. Pawar said that a NCP-Congress government - even with support from the Sena - was out of the question, but the two parties will take any decision on the matter jointly.

After meeting senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut, the NCP chief ruled out joining the Uddhav Thackeray-led party in new government with the outside support of the Congress.

"I welcome Pawar's decision that the NCP would sit in opposition," said senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar who holds Finance portfolio in the outgoing government.

As the deadlock over formation of government continued even 13 days after the assembly poll verdict, rumours were doing the rounds that the NCP might support the Sena in forming a government while the Congress would either abstain or support from outside.

The stand-off continued as both the Sena and the BJP are not willing to let go their claims on the post of chief minister in new government which has to be put in place before November 9, when the term of the current Legislative Assembly comes to end.

Mungantiwar, who also heads Forest department, appeared extending an olive branch to the Sena.

"All types of tigers would be protected by the BJP. We will take care of them," he said in a veiled reference to the Sena whose emblem is tiger.

He further said the alliance between the Sena and the BJP is like "H2O"- the chemical composition of water- which cannot be separated despite efforts by some people.

Responding to a query, the senior leader said, "It will be known at the right time who is adamant in this alliance."

Mungantiwar's recent remarks on possibility of imposition of President's rule in the state in the event of the new government not taking shape had raised hackles of the Sena.

He also reiterated that a "good news can be announced any moment" when asked about the status of the impasse between the saffron allies.

Despite having the requisite numbers to form an alliance government, the BJP and the Sena so far have failed to resolve their differences on sharing of power.

The BJP won 105 seats in the polls followed by ally Sena (56), the NCP (54) and the Congress (44) in Maharsahtra.

(With PTI inputs)

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