Mumbai, November 11: With the Shiv Sena being invited by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to stake claim for government formation in the state, the three other main political groups - the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress have gone into a huddle. Core group meetings of the three parties have been called to finalise on the post-poll strategy.
The NCP and the Congress, despite their anti-BJP approach, have so far remained reluctant towards displacing the Devendra Fadnavis-led regime in the state. The mandate for them, both parties had reiterated, is to play the role of a constructive Opposition. However, with the NDA set for a split, a rejig in their strategy is likely on the cards. Shiv Sena's Arvind Sawant Resigns as Union Minister From Modi Government Amid Probable NDA Split in Maharashtra.
In Delhi, the Congress core group meeting has been called by party president Sonia Gandhi. Top All India Congress Committee (AICC) functionaries would attend the meet, along with Maharashtra in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge, former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan, and party's state unit chief Balasaheb Thorat.
The Congress had earlier ruled out an alliance with the Shiv Sena, citing the ideological differences between the two parties. The party legislators in Maharashtra have, however, called upon the leadership to reconsider their decision.
Update by ANI:
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Maharashtra govt formation: There's a meeting at 10 am today. We will proceed according to instruction from high command. But our original decision & decision of the people is that we should sit in opposition, that is the present position. pic.twitter.com/9Z6YLBTI7m
— ANI (@ANI) November 11, 2019
The NCP, which had also adopted a wait-and-watch strategy, was seen more active in the post-poll scenario as compared to their alliance partner Congress. The Sharad Pawar-led party would be meeting in Mumbai today to seal the future course of action. The core body meeting would be attended by senior leaders Praful Patel, Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule and Jayant Patil among others.
The meeting comes comes shortly after Sena obliged with the NCP's condition that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party must resign from the Narendra Modi-headed central government before roping the support of Opposition parties in Maharashtra for forming the government.
In the early hours of Monday, Sena MP and lone Union Minister from the party in the Modi government, Arvind Sawant, announced his resignation. The 68-year-old was heading the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
The BJP, which has nearly completed its divorce with the Shiv Sena, threw a spanner before the Opposition as the party on Sunday decided to turn down the invite issued by the Governor. A core group meeting has been called today at the residence of caretaker Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, where the party will deliberate on the future course of action.
The buzz within the party, said reports, is to move into a re-election as the Shiv Sena may struggle in explaining to the voters its "betrayal" of Hindutva politics and "coalition dharma". The BJP, which emerged as the single-largest party after contesting on 164 seats, would be eyeing a full-majority in the case the fresh polls are held.