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BJP meets Governor; Sena moves legislators to hotel

BJP meets Governor; Sena moves legislators to hotel

Mumbai: The wait for a new government in Maharashtra prolonged on Thursday, with the BJP not staking a claim, while an aggressive Shiv Sena remained firm on the rotation of the chief minister's post.

Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who hasn't blinked in the protracted battle of nerves with the senior alliance partner, was quoted as saying that the Amit Shah-led party should approach him only if ready to give Sena the CMs post.

On Thursday, Thackeray chaired a meeting of Sena's new MLAs for over an hour, during which the legislators reiterated that the "equal sharing of posts and responsibilities" formula agreed upon before the Lok Sabha polls should be implemented.

The Sena MLAs passed a resolution, authorising Uddhav Thackeray to take a "final decision" on government formation in Maharashtra.

After the meet, held at Thackeray's Bandra residence 'Matoshree', the legislators went to Rangsharda Hotel, close to the party chief's home, where they were shifted amid the ongoing uncertainty over government formation and fear of switching sides.

"It is necessary for all the MLAs to be together in the prevailing situation. Whatever decision Uddhavji takes will be binding on all of us," Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu said.

"Threats and blackmailing won't work now," said Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who has been the public face of the party's new-found belligerence during the last fortnight.

"We also have options (to form a government)," he said but did not elaborate.

Maharashtra Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan amid talk of the latter stepping in to anoint a caretaker CM if nobody stakes claim to form the new government before the present Assembly's term ends in two days. In Nagpur, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should head the new government as he has been elected head of state BJP legislature party and ruled out his assuming the state's top job.

He also said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat should not be linked to the government formation moves in Maharashtra.

Senior leaders of Maharashtra BJP met Koshyari in Mumbai to discuss "legal aspects" of the delay in the formation of a government in the state.

Those who met Koshyari included minister and state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and ministers Sudhir Mungantiwar and Girish Mahajan.

"We discussed the legal aspects of the current situation with the governor. We will hold talks with our leaders and decide the next course of action," he said.

Anant Kalse, former principal secretary of the state legislature, said the onus is on Governor Koshyari to act if no party stakes claim to form the new government.

If no party comes forward, the governor can invite the single largest party to form the government, Kalse said.

The BJP and Shiv Sena are locked in a tussle over the issue of the chief minister's post, resulting in a stalemate in government formation despite results of the Assembly polls giving the alliance a combined seat strength of 161, way past the 145 majority mark in the 288-member House.

MPOST BUREAU

MPOST BUREAU

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